'We're up for the fight against a huge opponent' - skipper Alexander on Liverpool Youth Cup clash
- Credit: Ross Halls
It will be a proud moment when captain Fraser Alexander leads his Ipswich Town Under 18s team out for their FA Youth Cup semi-final clash with Liverpool tonight.
The central midfielder has been with the club since he joined at Under 8 level, going on to be voted skipper by his team-mates ahead of what has become an extremely successful season.
Tonight’s game with the Premier League giants at Portman Road could take the young Blues to the final of a competition they last won back in 2005, with the teenager proud to lead a group of friends who have been together for several years.
“We feel we’re ready, we’re excited and we’re all looking forward to it,” he said, speaking ahead of the game. “We’re prepared and we’re going to bring the fight to a very tough opponent.
“It’s a huge honour to captain this team because I’ve been here a long time and it’s a brilliant group.
“I have the armband but there are so many players out there who could take on the role, which helps make us such a good team.
“We always dreamed of this but never thought it would happen. The semi-final is a big stage and we’re all really looking forward to it and we’re very excited.
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“We feel ready, we’re up for it and we’re going to bring a big fight to a huge opponent like Liverpool.”
Town’s youngsters are led by boss Adem Atay, a former member of the club’s academy himself who not only helps his players on their football journey, but also in their progression away from the pitch.
“Adem has been my head coach for quite a few years now so I’ve known him a really long time,” Alexander said.
“He’s been fantastic. He pushes us really hard on the pitch and makes sure our standards off it don’t slip. He realises that if it does start to slip, either our education or our discipline, then that will impact our performances on the pitch.
“He’s all about the team winning and making progress, which has shown through our results this season.”
Alexander, Atay and the rest of the Ipswich players will be hoping for the same outcome as their dramatic 3-2 quarter-final victory over Sheffield United, which saw first-team manager Paul Cook sharing in the celebrations in the home dressing room.
“He wishes us a big good luck before all of the games and always says he’ll be watching,” Alexander said of Cook.
“He just wants us to do well, which reflects well on the club as a whole so hopefully he’ll be managing a few of us in the future.”