Local lads, young internationals and a signing from non-league - introducing Town’s newest professionals
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town have given a string of young players their first pro deals this season. ANDY WARREN takes a look at those looking to make their mark at the club.
The Bury St Edmunds youngster only signed his first professional contract 193 days ago but, such is his progress, he signed a new, improved deal just five months later.
The 19-year-old, who comes from a family of Ipswich fans and has been with the club since he was seven years old, made his Town debut under Paul Hurst in October and became a vital member of the first team squad under Paul Lambert prior to suffering a stress fracture in his back.
He’s currently resting up ahead of a potential return to action but figures to be a vital part of Lambert’s plans going forward.
Lankester is confident, gifted and has a desire to get on the ball and drive towards goal. Much of his first-team football has come in wide areas but he’s also played as a central striker as well as in midfield.
He’s now contracted to the club until at least the summer of 2022.
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A day after Lankester put pen to paper on his first deal with the Blues, Clements also turned professional on a deal that runs until the summer of 2020.
Like Lankester, the left back has been with the Blues since he was seven and has made good progress through the ranks at Town’s Playford Road training base.
The 18-year-old is calm, composed and a solid defender who also likes to get forward, as was in evidence for his goal in Monday’s Under 23 victory over Colchester.
He moves around the pitch with a similar, upright, running style to Cole Skuse and possesses good pace and physical ability considering his size.
His brother Kyran, also a defender, is a regular for Bostik League side Bury Town.
Idris El Mizouni
The France-born midfielder, who has played youth international football for Tunisia, signed as an academy scholar in 2017 after impressing the Blues during a series of trial spells in Suffolk.
Still only 18, the creative midfielder played the majority of his football with Ipswich’s table-topping Under 23 side but has also turned out for the Under 18s in the FA Youth Cup.
He’s neat and tidy on the ball, can pick a pass and can play in a number of central midfield positions. He plays the game in a similar way to Andre Dozzell, while also being able to dribble directly towards goal.
Despite his talent, there is considerable competition ahead of him in the Ipswich midfield pecking order and figures to spend another season learning his craft in the youth system.
His professional deal runs until the summer of 2021, with the Blues holding the option to extend that by a further 12 months.
The son of former Colchester striker and ex Ipswich Town academy recruitment boss Steve McGavin, has put pen to paper on an 18-month deal at Portman Road, keeping him with Blues until the summer of 2020.
McGavin, 19, is a central midfielder similar in style to the likes of Skuse and Jon Nolan, being careful in possession and bringing team-mates into play with neat passes.
He is understated and his good work can often go unnoticed as he brings more expansive team-mates into the game.
The Blues signed Brown as a 16-year-old from Grays Athletic a little more than a year ago, with the youngster having played nearly 40 senior games for the Bostik League side.
Just over 12 months later, the teenager has become an Under 23s regular and has signed a professional contract until the summer of 2021.
He arrived as a midfielder but now plays much of his football in forward roles, both centrally and in wide areas.
Brown has a good touch, is quick and has an eye for goal but still need to hone his all-round game if he is to be ready for the first-team.
Ipswich Town’s most recent new professional, Ndaba has made good progress over the last 18 months.
The Irishman was signed as a scholar from Dublin-based Cherry Orchard in 2016 and arrived as a midfielder, before being converted into a central defender.
He’s left-footed, good on the ball and vocal in the heart of the young Blues’ back-line, captaining the Under 23s on a regular basis.
Ndaba’s contract runs until the summer of 2022, meaning he is one of the Blues’ longest-contracted players.
Lambert said recently that the 19-year-old must work on the physical side of his game if he is to become a first-team player, but he has done well while training with the senior squad in recent weeks.
Of the Ipswich Town starting XI in Monday’s 4-1 under 23 victory over Colchester United, only Armando Dobra was yet to sign a professional deal.
That looks set to change in the coming weeks, with the midfield playmaker impressing in both the Under 18s and 23s of late.
He’s quick, creative and a threat from the No.10 position or wide areas.
Dobra, who was recently with Albania’s Under 19s, looks to have a bright future with Ipswich surely tying him down in the coming weeks.