Who are the Ipswich Town kids who impressed in cup defeat at Crystal Palace?
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Mick McCarthy fielded the youngest team in Ipswich Town history in the club’s Carabao Cup defeat at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night. Mark Heath looks at the youngsters who impressed despite the loss..
If you were watching Ipswich Town’s battle with Crystal Palace on Tuesday night and ignored the unfamiliar names on the back of the shirts, you wouldn’t have known that Mick was essentially playing a youth side.
And that fact on its own shows just how bright the future is for the Blues. There can’t be many other clubs in the country, at Championship level and below, who could play the kids and still compete with a Premier League side – albeit weakened - on their home turf.
So who are these terrific talents? You’ve heard of Flynn Downes and Tristan Nydam, but there’s a bunch of other names you’ll be hearing a lot more of in the not too distant future...
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The 18-year-old Ipswich lad can play either centre-back or right-back and signed a one-year pro deal with the Blues back in July having joined the academy in 2013. Made his debut in the second half at Luton in the first round of the Carabao Cup and impressed. Was Stuart Watson’s man of the match at Palace.
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Another who can play centre-back or right-back, the former Debenham High School pupil, now 19, has been at the club since he was 14. Chelmsford-born, he was the first player since Connor Wickham to play up three age groups in the academy.
The 18-year-old defender joined Town from Worthing in February 2016. Son of Damien, who played under McCarthy at Millwall. Had a trial with Aldershot in the summer. The Blues boss said after the Palace game: “Pat Webber was off to Aldershot at one stage but he came in and had a great game.”
The Irish midfielder signed from Dublin-based side Shelbourne in the summer of 2015 aged 17 and quickly caught the eye of his manager. He didn’t feature at all for the first-team last season though and, now aged 20, is in the final year of his contract. But McCarthy said recently: “I didn’t expect him to be involved. Do you know what, he wouldn’t have been had he not come back and trained as well as he has. He’s been really impressive in training.”
A 20-year-old attacking midfielder/forward who signed a pro deal with the Blues in 2016. Features regularly for the under 23s and went on loan to Bromley at the back end of last season.
The diminutive left-footed midfielder, 17, was born in Zimbabwe but moved to England at a young age and joined the Blues’ academy at the age of 10.
He caught the eye when handed a cameo display in a pre-season game at Cambridge United last summer, signed a two-year professional deal on his 17th birthday in November, then was included in an England Under-18 squad in March.
The 18-year-old is an aggressive, tenacious player who has made a huge impact in the first team already this season.
He hails from Brentwood, Essex and has been at the club since the age of seven.
“He’s got a really good chance,” McCarthy said before the season. “Technically he’s a very good footballer. He’s athletic, he puts his foot in and he’s a real competitor and winner.”
An 18-year-old striker from Sydney, Australia. Impressed as a starter at Palace, prompting McCarthy to say: “I’m always on at Ben Folami to work hard and he put a real shift in.”
The New Zealand-born forward turned down a scholarship at a Chicago University to join the Town academy in 2013.
A right-footed player who likes to drift inside from the left, he was handed his first senior Kiwi call-up last summer and netted his first international goal, against the USA, in October. Sscored twice in 13 appearances on loan at Braintree Town last season.
A 19-year-old centre back from Ipswich, who signed a pro deal in 2016. Recently given the seal of approval by namesake and fellow defender Tommy.
The 18-year-old striker, from Colchester, has been prolific at age group level in the academy, prompting comparisons to Jordan Rhodes. Has also represented England at various age groups.