The 'Ipswich connections' which led to McGuinness joining Cardiff
- Credit: Cardiff City
Mark McGuinness says it was 'Ipswich connections' which led to him signing for Cardiff City.
The 20-year-old centre-back has joined the Championship club in a £200k switch from Arsenal after making 23 starts for Ipswich in League One on loan.
McGuinness will work under former Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy and assistant Terry Connor at Cardiff, the pair having tracked his progress when in charge of the Republic of Ireland between 2018 and 2020.
Cardiff have also recently appointed former Ipswich director of football Dave Bowman on a consultancy basis too.
Asked if it was McCarthy who had drawn him to Cardiff, McGuiness told Wales Online: "Yeah, the manager. The Irish connection, the Ipswich connections as well.
"But just the size of the club, a club that has got aspirations to be in the Premier League was massive for me.
"As soon as a club like Cardiff was interested I was excited and couldn't miss the opportunity."
McGuinness was brought to Ipswich by Paul Lambert after impressing against the Blues in the Papa John's Trophy for Arsenal's U21s.
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He was a regular starter between October and February, mainly alongside fellow youngster Luke Woolfenden, then had a spell out the team before returning for the final six matches of the campaign under new boss Paul Cook.
"It was a fantastic experience for me, my first proper taste of men's football," he reflected.
"I really enjoyed it. I got every experience possible; there were manager changes and I was in and out of the team, but I had that spell of about 19 games back to back, Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday-Tuesday, which was new for me.
"But once you get into the rhythm of that, your body adapts and that was fantastic for me. Coming into the Championship now, the same sort of schedule, higher intensity, that has helped me.
"From the footballing side, the experience, I was among some older heads there who have so many appearances for Ipswich. Just learning from them guys and absorbing all the information, hopefully I can relay that on to the pitch with Cardiff now."
On working under former international centre-back McCarthy, McGuinness said: "I'll be picking his brains every day in training, learning from him as well as the other guys there.
"It's a great opportunity for me to learn and improve over the next few years at the club."