'There is no better feeling' - Coulson is feeling the love at Ipswich Town
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Middlesbrough loanee Hayden Coulson is feeling the love at Ipswich Town.
The 23-year-old left the field to a standing ovation of a 19,051 strong Portman Road crowd during the latter stages of the recent 2-2 home draw against AFC Wimbledon.
Having skillfully attacked, resolutely defended and had more touches of the ball than any other player on the park, he eventually signalled to the bench that his race was run after 86 minutes.
Both calves were cramping up following a limited pre-season which had been affected by a case of Covid that ‘took a little bit out of me’.
It was another big step in the right direction following his hour-long debut against MK Dons.
“The fans are brilliant aren’t they?” he said, reflecting on that moment of collective appreciation.
“It’s always nice to get that sort of reaction, but it would have been even nicer to get the three points.
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“But I enjoyed the game. It was a good one to get the feel back.”
Asked if that performance was a taster of what he’s all about as a player, Coulson replied: “Definitely. I love to get up and down that left side. Going forwards and helping the team out in attack comes natural to me, that’s the type of player I am, but hopefully I showed I can defend too.”
It’s not just the love of the fans that Coulson is enjoying either.
Manager Paul Cook pestered him to join the Blues all summer.
Feeling wanted like that was a big draw for a player who was trusted to play regularly in the Championship by Jonathan Woodgate in 2019/20 only to see his game-time dry up under Neil Warnock last season.
“One of the big things for any player is having the confidence of your manager,” admitted the Gateshead-born former England U18 international.
“There is no better feeling when a manager talks so positively about you. And I had that feeling of really being wanted from that very first contact with the gaffer here.
“Obviously different managers have different opinions. Different managers like different styles of footballers.
“The way Middlesbrough play is completely different to Ipswich.
“I’d just knew I needed to get out and get game time.”
He continued: “I initially knew Ipswich were interested from word on the grapevine. I’d been speaking to Sam Morsy, who’s obviously here now, and my agent had heard about it too.
“Eventually I spoke to the gaffer here, we had a good few chats, and I just knew this is where I wanted to come.
“It just felt like an ideal fit. The way the gaffer wants his teams to play, high and on the front foot, is the way I love to play. He told me about the club’s ambitions, I was seeing all the players the club was signing, so it was a no-brainer really.
“But then there was a hold-up because Middlesbrough’s squad size wasn’t the biggest at that time and they needed cover for my position. Obviously then I got Covid too.”
The move eventually went through on August 9, two days after Town’s season opener against Morecambe.
“I was moving from hotel to hotel for a while, like a lot of the new lads, and that’s not great,” he explains.
“But I’ve moved into my own place now and just need to get everything unpacked.
“So yeah, I’m all good, I’m spot on. I’m starting to settle and I’m feeling fit. It’s been a good couple of weeks on the training pitch and I’m raring to go for Saturday.”
The new-look Blues have made a six-game winless start to the season, but there have been plenty of positives to take from the performances.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Bolton Wanderers, Coulson said: “We’ve played some good football, scored some good goals, we just need to cut out the mistakes and keep the ball out of net now.
“I think once we get that first win then the rest will fall into place. The confidence will go up another notch and I could see us putting three or four past some teams.”