Titus answers his critics

FORMER Ipswich Town defender Titus Bramble's career has gained an unwanted reputation for high-profile mistakes and lapses of concentration.

FORMER Ipswich Town defender Titus Bramble's career has gained an unwanted reputation for high-profile mistakes and lapses of concentration.

His move from Newcastle to Wigan this summer failed to eliminate his tendency to switch off for a split-second and he is still often made a whipping boy by fans and media.

But the Ipswich-born defensive giant, who began his career at Portman Road, has now defended his reputation in the face of widespread criticism.

He said: “Nobody makes mistakes on purpose, and everybody does make mistakes. Sometimes it is a lapse in concentration, sometimes it is bad technique, but it happens to everyone.

“Strikers miss open goals, but they can get away with it. But if defenders or goalkeepers make a mistake, the ball is in the back of the net. That's the position we play in. That's the way it goes.”

Bramble was an exciting prospect when he first appeared in the Premier League with Ipswich, with his strength and aerial ability attracting interest from several top clubs.

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The England under-21 defender moved to Tyneside from Ipswich in 2002 when Sir Bobby Robson paid £5 million for him.

But despite his great potential and usual reliability, a series of embarrassing unprovoked errors characterised his stay in Newcastle, and he was often made a scapegoat by the demanding fans.

New boss Sam Allardyce refused to renew the 27-year-old Bramble's contract when he joined the club last summer, paving the way for a free transfer to Wigan.

Bramble said: “I'm not bitter about the treatment I received. Sometimes I felt as though it was a little harsh, but the fans have such high expectations.

“I had my ups and downs. The highs were great, but the lows, well they were low. I seemed to have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the fans and there were some unpleasant moments, but on the whole it was a very happy stage in my career.”

The defender moved to Wigan in search of first-team football this summer, and though he has occasionally been vilified in the press, he insists he is happy there.

He said: “I'm enjoying my football at Wigan. It's been a good move. The fans have been brilliant to me and the squad has got stronger and stronger.

“I think the big difference at Wigan is the fans don't have such high expectations. Perhaps they are more patient because they expect less, but you have to remember Newcastle are a massive club who haven't won anything for years. It's very frustrating for the fans.”