Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers says position debate has been a ‘downer’

Skipper Luke Chambers on the ball during the Ipswich Town v Aston Villa (Championship) match at Port

Skipper Luke Chambers on the ball during the Ipswich Town v Aston Villa (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 17 September 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers feels criticism of him playing at right-back has been unjustified, but admits he’d love to nail down his preferred position of centre-back again.

An injury crisis means the 30-year-old will be back alongside Christophe Berra at the heart of the defence for tonight’s Championship clash with Brighton at Portman Road (7.45pm ko).

After three seasons playing at full-back, he admits he may be ‘rusty’ returning to his favoured role.

“Listen, I’d like to play centre-half, but I’ve played right-back for, what, three years now? I don’t know if you can say I’m a centre-half anymore,” he said.

“I’ve been playing right-back and whether or not I’m everyone’s favourite player in that position is up for debate. I’m always probably going to divide opinion there.

“I didn’t play very well against Villa last week. There were a few shaky moments and you do feel that coming through on the pitch (from the fans), but I’ve been playing long enough now to know that’s part and parcel of being a footballer. You take a bit of stick sometimes.”

He continued: “People might think I ‘do a job’ there. Whether I do as good a job as a lad who’s played right-back his whole life is for other people to decide.

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“The team hasn’t conceded too many goals since I’ve been at the club and we’ve finished high up the table, so it’s a bit of a downer when everyone talks about me playing right-back.

“I’ve played 200 games in four years for the club, so I must be doing something right.

“We finished seventh last season so maybe you could say I’m the seventh best right-back in the league! You can make what you want from it.”

With 19-year-old Josh Emmanuel starting at right-back tonight, Chambers said: “He has massive potential. He has all the physical attributes, technically he’s very, very good and it’s a big opportunity for him.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be at centre-half, it might be one game, it might three or four, but I’m looking forward to it.

“I’ll always just try and do my best for the team, wherever I play.”

On renewing his central defensive partnership with Berra, something that worked brilliantly in McCarthy’s early days in charge, Chambers said: “Me and Christophe sometimes have a few disagreements on match days and in training, but I feel we’ve played together pretty well when I’ve had the opportunity.

“I feel Christophe is playing very, very well this year. He’s been dominant in every game we’ve played. It will hopefully be a nice experience for me to go back in alongside him and hopefully stake a claim to stay there, although I know we’ve got some very, very good defenders at the club.

“I think primarily at the minute the gaffer sees me as a right-back because of the strength we’ve got in that position, but injuries have given me an opportunity to play in there. I’m just doing all I can to help the team win a game.”

Asked to elaborate on his and Berra’s ‘disagreements’, he laughed: “They’re nothing, we’re just always talking about football me and Christophe. He’s very, very focussed on match day, so when you do try and help him out or say something he gives you a bit of a growl with his missing teeth! I love him death Christophe and he’s been absolutely brilliant since coming to the club.

“I try and make him as angry as I can because that’s when he plays his best.”