Ipswich Town boss keen for Manchester City’s Bersant Celina to take over Tom Lawrence mantle

Manchester City winger Bersant Celina. Photo: PA

Manchester City winger Bersant Celina. Photo: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy is hoping imminent arrival Bersant Celina can make Ipswich Town fans forget about former loan star Tom Lawrence.

Kosovo international Celina, who has won six caps for his country, is set to join the Blues on a season-long loan deal from Premier League giants Manchester City.

The 20-year-old scored five goals in 28 games for top-flight Dutch side FC Twente and City were keen for Celina to join Ipswich and further develop his burgeoning talent.

Town have had notable success in the last two seasons with Lawrence, borrowed last season from Leicester City, and Ryan Fraser, who spent time on-loan at Portman Road from Bournemouth, the season before.

While Fraser’s stay was punctured by injury, the diminutive Scottish winger made a lasting impression on Ipswich fans, scoring six times in 20 appearances.


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As for Lawrence, he virtually rescued Town’s season single-handedly last term, the 23-year-old providing nine goals and nine assists.

“We have been looking for a replacement for Tom Lawrence, so there’s no pressure,” joked McCarthy, who completed the signing of Emyr Huws, on a four-year deal, on Wednesday.“Tom was Player of the Year in every department but when he came in, not everyone thought he was the best signing in the world.

“We had Ryan Fraser the year before and everyone saw how good he was, yet I never hear any mention of Ryan (after Lawrence’s impact).

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“I am hoping Bersant Celina can do a similar thing.

“He is a right-footed left-winger that can play in behind the striker, but I want him to play wide-left in a four-man midfield or, if necessary, in a three.

“He has not got much to live up to has he!”

Meanwhile, McCarthy insists the slate is clean for Town’s players, having returned to pre-season on Monday.

“I don’t come back on the first day of pre-season with any pre-conceived ideas, but there are some players you can hang your hat on and some that you are not so sure about,” the Blues boss revealed.

“Some will need to change your mind if they have not been playing and I am prepared to change my mind.

“It’s up to the players to come back, and if I have any doubts over anyone, they have got to do more, run more, play better. Whatever it takes to change my mind.”

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