'He's without doubt one of the best in the league' - Cook hails defender Nsiala

Aristote Nsiala in action

Toto Nsiala, pictured in action against Fleetwood Town - Credit: Ray Lawrence

Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook believes Toto Nsiala is ‘one of the best two or three’ central defenders in League One. 

The 29-year-old is back in the side after injury cruelly ruled him out of action after the opening-day draw with Morecambe, with the former Shrewsbury man now partnering George Edmundson at the heart of the Ipswich defence. 

He’s performed consistently well when on the field during 2021, with Cook impressed by the centre-half's level of performance since he replaced Cameron Burgess, especially when it comes to the art of out-and-out defending.

“With Toto, obviously his hamstring injury this year set him back with us, it was at a time when, even to date, we were probably still struggling to see our best XI,” Cook said. “We had so many different injuries, lads coming in late, Sam Morsy suspended for three games etc. 

A distraught Toto Nsiala heads back to the changing rooms after suffering a first half injury.

Nsiala is back in the side after suffering an injury on the opening day of the season - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller.com

“Toto’s probably, without doubt, one of the best two or three centre-halves for defending in the division. There’s none better than him. He’s an absolute athlete, he’s a beast of a lad and one-v-one he’s nearly unplayable. 

“If he can fix his mindset on achieving those goals on the pitch and perform on a regular basis, then the reality is he’ll be an outstanding player for us, so long may that continue.” 

Cook and Nsiala go back nearly a decade, first working together at Accrington in 2012 when the Town boss was in charge and the defender on loan from Everton. 

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“Toto’s a very passionate boy, he really does care and when you care like that and you have people who care around you, it’s always good to see,” Cook said. 

Confusion ahead of the introduction of Toto Nsiala.

Paul Cook has been impressed with Toto Nsiala's recent form - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller - stephenw

“I think for our supporters and for me, the pleasing thing is the connection between the supporters and the players. 

“I think it’s quite apparent for everyone to see that that’s growing, and that should be harnessed when you don’t have good times as well. 

“We need our support so badly and we need to give those supporters something to cheer about, and that’s one of the things that we work on.” 

Nsiala is likely to start alongside Edmundson once again this weekend, when Town travel to Plymouth. 

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