Is Man City loanee Bersant Celina a Mick McCarthy type player? You bet, says Blues boss
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy admits he’s been left excited and frustrated by Manchester City loanee Bersant Celina in equal measure.
The 20-year-old attacking midfielder has seen his start to life with the Blues disrupted by illness and made just one cameo Championship appearance,
On the few occasions the Kosovan international has got on the field though he has caught the eye with his step-overs, direct-running and striking technique. There was a fine assist in the Carabao Cup win at Luton, late consolation goal at Crystal Palace and wonderful free-kick strike as the Under-23s won at Sheffield Wednesday last weekend.
“He scored an even better one in training this morning with the outside of his foot,” enthused McCarthy. “He’s certainly got something. I guess if you’re coming from Manchester City you ought to have a bit of something.
“He’s been here for 12 weeks and been ill for about seven of them so is playing catch-up, but he’s been playing well in the Under-23 games and is looking sharp.”
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The Blues boss continued: “He does (good) things that you’re not able to coach. And he also does things that you wouldn’t coach!
“If we get him in the final third with the ball and he can do his bit then he’s a real threat, there’s no doubt about that. We saw that in the game against Luton and we’ve seen it in training.”
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Does that mean that Celina has to do the gritty side of the game to get in a Mick McCarthy side?
“His attitude has been great,” said the Blues boss. “You’re kind of questioning that by saying ‘is he a Mick McCarthy player?’ Mick McCarthy likes the best players. Mick McCarthy likes really good players who play really good football and who are competitive.
“Depending on what I get to spend, I take the competitive side first because I know what I’m going to get out players then.
“He’s got a bit of both. He tracks back really well. My criticism of him at Crystal Palace was ‘don’t give the bloody ball away’.
“When we are breaking I want us to end up with a goal, a penalty, a free-kick, a corner or a throw-in, then sixth option might be the ball ends up in the keeper’s hands, while last should be they nick it off you and end up getting a shot of their own.
“We’ve explained that to him. If we can get him on the pitch and doing everything we might have a player.”