Flynn Downes on Crystal Palace bids and having 'no regrets' over transfer request

Flynn Downes looks for an early opportunity.

Flynn Downes in action against Sunderland on Tuesday night. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Flynn Downes handed in a transfer request last September after Ipswich Town turned down a bid from Premier League club Crystal Palace. The talented young midfielder was then dropped for a few games and, soon after being reintroduced to the fold, suffered a knee injury which sidelined him for three months. Back in action at the start of 2021, here's what he had to say ahead of tomorrow's League One clash at Crewe.

Q: How good does it feel to be back on the football pitch again? 

A: It’s lovely. I’ve missed it so much, honestly. I can’t put it into words. I think the whole lockdown hasn’t helped, because you’re sat there literally doing nothing.  

It’s so good to be back. It’s been a long three months. Touch wood, it doesn’t happen again.

Q: I bet that you’re not a good viewer when you’re out? 

A: Do you know what, I can’t watch. I literally can’t watch! 

Q: How have you felt, physically, since coming back? 

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A: When you do your MCL it’s more mental because when you first come back you’re still getting pains in your knee.

When I played the first 45 minutes (coming on as a half-time sub against Swindon on January 9) that was a big achievement because I’d only trained two or three times. That was a big positive. 

To get through a few 90 minutes since then (against Burton, Peterborough and Sunderland) has been unbelievable. Every 90 minutes I feel like I’m getting back to my best. Hopefully I can keep going through them. Now I literally don’t think about the injury at all. 

Q: Did you know straight away at MK Dons it was something serious?

A: Yeah. Obviously I don’t stay down, but when I tried to get up my leg was literally shaking. I knew that was game over for me. 

Q: How long before we see the best of you again? 

A: I don’t know really. I feel like every game I’m getting better and getting my confidence back. Obviously it takes time. 

My first full start was Burton and, I’ll be honest, I felt way off it. My legs were so heavy. 

I played again the other day and felt good. Every game I’m getting better. 

Flynn Downes. Warming up during the break at Bristol Rovers. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Bournemouth are understood to be keen on Ipswich Town midfielder Flynn Downes. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix

Q: We don’t want to put pressure on you, but with the way the club is at the moment we need to see the best of Flynn Downes sooner rather than later! 

A: We need to see the best out of everyone to be honest! I’m trying, I'm working, so hopefully it comes back asap. 

Q: Do you understand the fans’ frustrations at the moment? 

A: Of course. We are underachieving. That’s it. It’s not down to one person, it’s down to everyone at the club. 

Look, we’re trying to put it right. Hopefully we can start tomorrow. 

Q: What’s happening with Crystal Palace? Are they still interested in you? 

A: I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. 

Q: You wanted to go there in the summer though, didn’t you? 

A: Well *laughs*, I suppose with it being a Premier League team... who wouldn’t? 

Flynn Downes in the stands for Ipswich Town's League One opener against Wigan. Photo: Steve Waller

Flynn Downes was dropped after handing in a transfer request earlier this season. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Q: Do you regret handing in the transfer request? How do you look back on those tricky few weeks? 

A: Do you know what, I have no regrets. I think if you live your life you can’t have any regrets. 

It is what it is. Look, I love this club. But a massive opportunity was given to me. I’ve always said since I was a little kid that I want to play in the Prem. 

Look, it is what it is. That’s in the past now. I’m focused on Ipswich. That’s it now. 

Q: How much did it all affect you? You were fully fit, but the manager said you weren’t quite right to play games. 

A: I suppose mentally it was something new. I’d never experienced that. Yeah, it was tough. It was very tough. Like I say, I’d never experienced anything like that before. 

I feel better for it now. Definitely. 

Q: Did you ever refuse to play for Ipswich Town? I want to clarify that. Did that ever happen? 

A: No. I felt like mentally I didn't feel good enough to play. I know that sounds weird, but that’s just how it was. I didn't feel confident enough... 

I don’t know. It was a weird scenario. I just didn’t feel like I was mentally in it, so I couldn’t give 100% for the boys. That’s how I felt. 

Q: There’s nothing wrong in a young player showing some ambition. That’s ultimately the bottom line. 

A: That’s it. Every kid wants to play at the top. That’s every kid, I'm sure. So look, when the opportunity came about I had to do everything I could to try and take it. That’s it really. 

Q: Are you ready to play at that level, do you think? 

A: Yeah, 100%. 

Q: It must have been flattering to have had that top-flight interest? 

A: Yeah, definitely. Look, it’s a massive confidence boost, definitely. 

But Crystal Palace, that’s in the past now. I just want to focus on Ipswich and getting us promotion to be honest. 

Q: You won’t be playing in League One next season, will you? 

A: Who knows? 

Flynn Downes was limited to the role of substitute, following his summer transfer request, in the ea

Flynn Downes says that Ipswich Town's players need to start performing for under-pressure manager Paul Lambert. Photo: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Q: Do you boys owe the manager a better standard of performance? He’s obviously the one with his head on the block that fans are having a go at. 

A: Of course. Like I said earlier, I don’t think you can point fingers at anyone. It’s not one person. It’s all of us. It’s everyone at the club. It’s one big team over here. 

I think it’s unfair to point all your fingers at him. At the end of the day we’re the 11 players on the pitch and we’ve got to go out there and win the game. 

Q: How supportive of you was the manager when the whole Crystal Palace thing blew up? 

A: Yeah... he was good. Obviously it was a tough time. It was a tough time. That was it really. 

Obviously my head was all over the gaff.  

But yeah, everyone has been good. 

Q: These next few games (Crewe away, Blackpool at home, Peterborough away)  could be quite crucial, couldn’t they? 

A: Yeah, definitely. Like I said earlier, we’re underachieving a bit. The next couple of games are massive. We need to get back to winning ways and get a bit of momentum. That starts tomorrow. 

A bit of momentum is everything. Once the boys get their confidence back we’ll be flying. 

Q: Can you take a bit of confidence from Tuesday night’s game, with the way you stuck at the game with 10 men? 

A: Definitely. When you go to 10 men so early you expect a three or four-nil, but it wasn’t that at all. We were in the game the whole 90 minutes against a top-six team, as they say. 

That was very promising and that just shows you how we can play. We’ve got the talent here. There’s nothing stopping us from going there tomorrow and winning with ease. 

Q: Crewe played well at Portman Road and recently went 10 unbeaten. It will be a challenge up there won’t it? 

A: Yeah, it will. Look, we know what to expect from them. They are a good passing team, but we’ve got to implement our own style. We’re Ipswich Town and they should be worried about playing us. 

We’ll go up there tomorrow and hopefully do a job on them. 

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