Ipswich Town teenager Flynn Downes ‘living the dream’ and ready to cause an upset in the cup

Ipswich Town midfielder Flynn Downes. Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town midfielder Flynn Downes. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Confident teenage midfielder Flynn Downes believes one of the most inexperienced Ipswich Town sides in history can cause an almighty Carabao Cup upset at Premier League hosts Crystal Palace tonight (7.30pm ko).

Blues boss Mick McCarthy yesterday revealed he will name the youngest side of his entire 25-year managerial career for the second round tie as he simply cannot afford any more senior players joining a lengthy injury list.

Downes (18) and fellow midfielder Tristan Nydam (17) have already made exciting senior breakthroughs in the opening two weeks of the campaign, while fellow academy graduates George Fowler (19), Luke Woolfenden (18), Chris Smith (19), Pat Webber (18), Conor McKendry (18), Ben Folami (18), Monty Patterson (20), Ben Morris (18) and Shane McLoughlin (20) will also be involved.

Palace, who have lost their opening two top-flight games, will be keen to get off the mark and boss Frank de Boer could play star names like Christian Benteke, Andros Townsend and Yohan Cabaye.

“It will be an unbelievable experience, mad,” said Downes, beaming ear-to-ear. “Hopefully we can get the win and play well.

“Can we beat them? Yeah, I think we’ve got them! We’ve got an inexperienced side, but I think we’ll do well.

“If you’d have told me a year ago I’d be starting a game like this I’d have said ‘no way’. I’ve put in a lot of hard work though and this is what I want, to be playing against Premier League teams.”

Most Read

Brentwood-born Downes joined Town’s academy at the age of seven, starting training with the first team towards the end of last season, caught the eye in several summer friendlies and appeared in four of Town’s opening five wins.

“For the team it’s been unbelievable with five wins in a row and for myself it’s just been amazing,” he enthused. “When the manager told me to warm up (ahead of his debut on the opening weekend) I was really nervous, I’m not going to lie. My heart was going so fast. It was crazy. To get on was mad.

“He just said I was good enough, believed in my ability and should go and show them what I do. It was good to get a few touches early and get the confidence up. My family were all there loving it!

“It’s been a massive shock to be involved as much as I have done. I’m living the dream. Signing autographs takes a bit of getting used to! The first time it happened was like ‘what’s going on here?’ That was me 10 years ago.”

The tenacious Downes first caught McCarthy’s eye when ‘dumping a few first-teamers on their backsides’ in training.

“I can’t really say who it was or they’ll give me some stick!” he laughed. “That’s part of the game. You’ve got to go and do it.

“I like to do everything really. I like to put those tackles in and I like to get forwards too. I’m a box-to-box midfielder and I’m trying to add goals to my game.

“Steven Gerrard was my role model growing up. That’s the player I want to be like.”

Having been sent-off numerous times at youth team level, he said: “I do like to play on the edge but I’ve been working quite hard to control it and channel it. I won’t ever take tackles out of my game, but I’ve just got to control the red mist. I do get that every now and again, but I’m working on that.”