Josh Emmanuel won’t accept playing second fiddle forever, admits Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy throws the ball to Josh Emmanuel.
Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy throws the ball to Josh Emmanuel. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy says Josh Emmanuel is fine about his current place down the pecking order, but knows the teenager won’t be happy playing second fiddle forever should his fine form continue.

The 19-year-old right-back will return to the first-team for tomorrow’s televised Championship clash with Nottingham Forest at Portman Road (5.30pm, Sky Sports) due to the fact that Adam Webster is injured.

The powerful youngster has impressed whenever called upon – making eight starts and three substitute appearances – but has always returned to the bench as soon as the preferred back four of Luke Chambers, Webster, Christophe Berra and Jonas Knudsen have all been available.

With Webster hoping to have recovered from his hamstring problem in time to return to the team for the visit of QPR, a week on Saturday, McCarthy was asked if there was anything Emmanuel could do tomorrow keep his place in the team going forwards.

“That’s interesting because, whatever we do – if we win and Chambo plays well – then everyone will ask me how tough the team selection is for QPR if Webbo is back,” he replied.

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“Just let him (Emmanuel) play well, let’s hope we win the game and it gives me a problem.”

Pressed if Emmanuel – who earlier this week signed an extended contract until 2019 – was happy just playing a few games here and there, McCarthy said: “He’s been very good. He’s accepted that, but he won’t accept that forever. Not if he comes in and plays really well.

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“And who’s to say that I will just change it if we win the game, or even if we don’t win the game? Chambo has played at centre-half long enough...”

With youngster Myles Kenlock facing a similar situation at left-back, McCarthy added: “Just be ready to play is my message to all of them. What’s nice about the (younger) lads is that none of them sulk.

“They all realise there are first-teamers in front of them. They appreciate where they are in the pecking order and where they are in their careers, but they are ambitious – all of them.

“Josh has just signed a new contract and I really do think he’s a first team player. He trains with us every day and never, ever looks out of place.

“I’ve got no qualms about Josh at all. I can hang my hat on him. If I had to play him for the rest of the season that wouldn’t faze me at all. That would be exactly the same with Myles Kenlock.”

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