Ipswich Town fans will love Conor Grant, says Everton’s Joe Royle
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Joe Royle says Blues fans are going to love new signing Conor Grant after the young left-sided midfielder arrived on a season-long loan from Everton yesterday.
Ex-Town boss Royle is now the head of youth development at Goodison Park and played an integral role in Grant’s switch to Portman Road.
The 21-year-old played a starring role at League One side Doncaster last season and, after impressing for the Toffees’ first team during a summer tour of Germany, new boss Ronald Koeman has decided he should get some Championship experience.
“I’m sure Ipswich fans are going to love him,” enthused Royle.
“He’s a proper footballer, has got a wonderful left foot and if you look at some of the goals he scored for Doncaster last season you’ll see what a talent he is.
“He’s a set-piece specialist and can supply great crosses from open play for strikers to attack.
“He’s more of a left-midfielder than a flying winger. I’m not making a direct comparison by any imagination, but Ipswich fans should think of Arnold Muhren as supposed to Clive Woods.”
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Grant is the nephew of former Everton midfielder Tony Grant and has been with his hometown club since the age of 13.
Royle added: “He’s highly-rated here and the hope is that he can come back next summer ready to establish himself.”
Blues striker Daryl Murphy is certainly salivating at the prospect of two wide players supplying him with some ammunition this season.
With speedy right-winger Grant Ward having also been signed from Tottenham earlier this week for £600k, Town’s Irish front man said: “Grant has looked sharp and he gives us something different – a bit of pace, running at players and getting crosses in the box. He’s been doing that in training from the minute he arrived. I want to be getting on the end of those in games and scoring goals.
“I think we’ve probably missed that in previous seasons – somebody who just gets at defenders and loves to cross the ball in.”
Murphy finished as the Championship’s 27-goal topscorer in 2015/16, playing more than 50 times for club and country. He netted just 10 times last season though as a series of injury niggles prevented him making more than three starts in a row after Christmas.
After impressing for the Republic of Ireland in their Euro 2016 games against Italy and France, however, he says he’s feeling fit and full of confidence.
“Last season was very frustrating,” said the 33-year-old. “I’d come back from a calf injury and my groin would be sore. They were just little things that came from nowhere when I was least expecting it.
“I sat out the last eight games. Maybe I could have been risked, but I think that extra rest is what I needed to make sure I was fresh – not only for Ireland, but for Ipswich this season. I’m feeling good.”