Lankester on his return to the side, Cook's words of wisdom and talk of a deadline day loan exit
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Jack Lankester is delighted to be back in the Ipswich Town picture but knows he and his fellow attackers must take creative responsibility as the Blues bid to make the League One play-offs.
It’s been a stop-start season for the 21-year-old, with his start against Lincoln on Tuesday night his first since the home defeat by Portsmouth on December 12.
His return to the fold came in Paul Cook’s first home game as Town manager, with the new boss highlighting a lack of creativity in the final third on multiple occasions during his first 10 days in charge.
Lankester doesn’t just want to settle for a place in the side, though. He wants to contribute.
“As a footballer you just want to play every game and it is frustrating, but I wouldn’t show that and I’d go in and train properly because I know what I do in training is helping others in the session,” the attacking midfielder said.
“It’s obviously great to be back in the team, having not played a lot recently, but when a new manager comes in it gives everyone a clean slate and a chance to impress.
“I was happy to get the chance to show what I can do and the aim now is to play regularly. When I was out I tried to keep on top of things by playing in the Under 23s, because I believe in playing game after game, so a run of games back in the team is what I’m aiming for.
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“It’s important I try to score or assist if I get the games because we know we’ve been lacking in that area, but we’re all doing our best to work on ways of doing that. It’s very important.
“We’ve got to create chances and I think that comes from the likes of me or the other players in those positions, so we have to express ourselves and be brave. That’s what he’s drilling into us.
Lankester can play in any of the three positions behind the central striker, starting wide on the left on Tuesday night before switching to the right, but it’s in the No.10 role he believes he does his best work.
“I think my best position is in the attacking midfield role, as a No.10, but I can play on either wing and try to create from wide areas,” he said.
“We have a lot of competition for the No.10 position but that’s good competition, because all of us want each other to do well. I can ask players like Judgey (Alan Judge) for advice because he’s played there a lot longer than me and everyone is helping each other."
Lankester played just 12 minutes of football during the opening month of 2021, leading to talk of a possible loan exit at the end of the January transfer window.
The academy product he was only ever focussed on playing for Ipswich Town, though, despite interest from Salford City.
“There’s always talk and obviously I wasn’t playing at that time, but my main focus was playing games wherever they came from,” he said. “But that’s gone, I’m here and I’m hopefully playing games.
“I didn’t really talk about it, I don’t really have an agent, but if someone mentioned something then I’d take action on it.
“My aim all along has been to play for Ipswich Town and this is where I want to continue playing.”