Tommy Smith is ready to hit the ground running following his Olympics exploits

TOMMY Smith is ready to hit the ground running with Ipswich Town following his Olympic exploits.

The 22-year-old has missed most of Ipswich Town’s pre-season after playing for New Zealand against Belarus, Brazil and Egypt in this summer’s big sporting showpiece.

He seamlessly slotted back into the Blues’ defence during Saturday’s impressive 3-1 win over West Ham though, playing the first hour.

“It’s the biggest honour in the game representing your country and I’ve never turned down the chance to represent them,” said Smith, who has now played at a World Cup and Olympic Games.

“It’s something that I’ll never ever forget and it’s something that will stay with me and my family for a very long time.

“I think Brazil’s squad was valued at around �400m. You don’t come up against players of that talent very often so it was good to pit my wits against them and hopefully I can learn a lot from the experience.

“On the flip side I haven’t been around the lads here. That was a bit disappointing, but hopefully I can come back and slip straight into the side.

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“I feel sharp now having played three competitive games. I think it will really stand me in good stead for the season.”

With Ipswich vastly improved on Saturday following disappointing defeats to Luton and Southend, Smith continued: “I don’t know what’s gone on in previous matches, but I felt we were comfortable out there for the majority of the game.

“I think first half especially we played some lovely football. It probably looked to the fans that we were the Premier League team.

“It’s always a good feeling when you feel like you have played better than the team in the division higher than you.”

He added: “We all know we conceded far too many goals last season and that’s something the lads have been working hard on.

“The new lads look like they’ll bring a bit of quality to the squad that maybe we were lacking.

“The more we play together the more we will gel.”