McDonnell debut pleases Ipswich Town boss

Adam McDonnell

Adam McDonnell - Credit: Gregg Brown

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy wasn’t surprised when young midfielder Adam McDonnell succumbed to fatigue on his Football League debut, and praised the youngster, who made an encouraging start to life in the Championship.

The 18-year-old former Shelbourne playmaker was thrown in for his first league start in the Blues’ 1-0 win at Derby and found himself up against three experienced Championship performers in Craig Bryson, Will Hughes and George Thorne.

But partnering Cole Skuse in a role protecting the back four, the teenager never looked out of place at the i-Pro, ensuring he won his fair share of tackles as well as trying to use arguably his best attribute, his creativity.

McCarthy said after the game: “I thought he was excellent, really good, and even when he got booked I was delighted because he was winning the ball and (on that occasion) stopped Derby attacking.

“He competed really well, passed the ball well and, by the way, what a big game for him to come and play, there were some good midfielders in there.”

McDonnell lasted 55 minutes before being replaced by Jonathan Douglas and planted a seed in McCarthy’s mind ahead of next season.

“He (McDonnell) was getting cramp,” explained McCarthy.

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“I think the pace of the game, the occasion, he’s not played any at that level, got to him. It was always going to be taxing but when he was on I thought he was good.

“He was just shattered.”

McDonnell was not the only youngster to impress in the East Midlands on Saturday.

Returning teenage midfielder Teddy Bishop, once again impressed as he stepped up his rehabilitation from season-long hamstring and shin injuries, while Myles Kenlock, playing at left-back in place of the injured Jonas Knudsen, stood up to Derby wingers, Tom Ince and Johnny Russell.

Kenlock also made a positive contribution the Saturday before, setting up the winner for Luke Varney in the 3-2 win against MK Dons, Josh Emmanuel shining on the other flank.

“I thought he (Kenlock) saw both wingers off and they are two good wide players,” said the Blues’ boss.

“It’s excellent and it’s given me some real encouragement for next season.”

While the likes of Bishop, Emmanuel, Kenlock and McDonnell representing the future at Town, one player that won’t be at Portman Road next season is Jay Tabb.

The midfielder has failed to feature under McCarthy in the league this season, having triggered an extra year’s stay by virtue of the amount of games he played last season.

McCarthy was full of praise for the 32-year-old and said: “He has been fabulous and is another one, without playing a game all season, that could have won the selfless player-of-the-year award. He trains every day, played well in the cup games, and is a prime example to any young player. He’s a fantastic character.”

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