‘He’s a little magician with the ball... he’s that good’ - Jackson hails Town team-mate Judge
- Credit: Archant
Kayden Jackson has insisted Ipswich Town are lucky to have ‘little magician’ Alan Judge and believes the Irishman is the best player in League One.
Both players started the Blues' 4-1 victory over Tranmere on Saturday, with a sublime pass from Judge freeing Jackson in the lead-up to Jon Nolan's third goal.
But the playmaker has struggled to hit top gear in the early weeks of the season, following a difficult summer in which he dealt with a wrist injury and transfer interest from Queens Park Rangers.
But Jackson believes Judge is now as happy at Ipswich as he's ever been and backed his team-mate to deliver on the field.
"To be fair to him he's doing everything but score," Jackson said.
"I said in the summer that there aren't many better players in this league than Alan Judge. I'd probably say there's no better player in League One than Judgey and not that many better in the Championship than him, so for us to have him here means we're very lucky.
"I'm sure once he gets one goal he'll get two, three and four. He's that good.
"Personally for him now I think things are as good as they've been here and he's as happy as he's ever been because he has his family up here and he's settled.
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"You can see he's enjoying his football and he's putting himself about - all 3ft 5in of him - and he's working hard every day.
"He's a little magician with the ball at his feet and he can find runs that not many people can. Probably nobody in the league can do that like he can.
"We're just lucky to have him here."
Jackson changed the game and gave Ipswich new impetus at Portman Road on Saturday, as he followed up a spilled Luke Garbutt free-kick to put his side back in front just minutes into the second period.
The goal was the striker's fifth of the campaign, taking him level with James Norwood at the top of Town's scoring charts.
"I don't mind who's scoring as long as we're getting the wins," he said.
"I should probably have a few more than that but that's football so I'll try and work hard.
"I just want to try and help the team, whether that's scoring goals or assisting them or trying to get others on the scoresheet.
"I'm just happy we're winning games and giving the fans something to cheer about after last season."
Jackson believes the squad's ability to remain patient this season is key, as exhibited during Saturday's victory.
The hosts struggled to get going during a lacklustre first-half at Portman Road, which ended 1-1, before Paul Lambert's men cut loose in the second period to secure a 4-1 win.
Jackson admitted Lambert's calm demeanour at the break helped ease the Town players' frustrations but the striker knows he and his team-mates are likely to face similar issues again as the season goes on.
"We realised at half-time that we had to change our game because, and fair play to them, they made it difficult for us," Jackson said. "They played very direct and that's hard to play against sometimes.
"But second half we raised our game and it's about having the patience, really.
"We need to realise that teams are going to come to Portman Road and make it hard for us, especially in the first half of games, but we need the patience we showed to get past those phases of the game and start playing our football. That's exactly what we did.
"A few of us were a bit emotional off the back of a not so good half for us but the gaffer was calm and told us to concentrate on our game and play it as best we can.
"Most teams will come here and try to do that so we need to grind it out and, when the time comes, get the ball down when the gaps open up."
Jackson's believes the timing of his strike, just two minutes into the second half, was also key.
"It was nice to get one so early, which set us up for the rest of the half because we were able to get the ball down a lot more and play more comfortably," he said.
"There were bodies on the floor and I just had to make sure I missed them and hit the back of the net, which I did. I'm happy to score again but most importantly get another good win in front of all the fans who were amazing.
"We're top of the league and we want to stay there now."
On Garbutt's stunning opening goal, which saw the Everton loanee find the top corner from more than 25-yards with a free-kick, Jackson said: "We see that every Friday in training and there are always a few contenders in there, although most lads hit the wall
"He's always up with a few like that, though so it was nice to see that."