Whisper it quietly… but Ipswich Town could have answered a decade-old right-back question
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town have been searching for a long-term right-back for nearly a decade. ANDY WARREN looks at whether Kane Vincent-Young could be the answer.
Danny Simpson, Liam Rosenior, Jaime Peters, Gianni Zuiverloon, Reece Wabara, Bradley Orr, Carlos Edwards, Elliott Hewitt, Frazer Richardson, Luke Chambers, Kevin Foley, Dominic Iorfa, Josh Emmanuel, Janoi Donacien, James Bree, Jordan Spence.
Ipswich Town have been looking for a true answer at right-back since the days of David Wright, who departed in 2010 having taken up the baton following nearly a decade of consistency with Fabian Wilnis.
The quest to replace him has been a carousel which has kept on spinning, despite repeated bids to settle things down in a full-back role which has become increasingly important in the modern game.
There have been loanees like Simpson, Rosenior, Iorfa and Bree who arrived, impressed to varying degrees but departed again to leave Ipswich needing to spin the wheel again and again. They were never going to be the true answer, but they did at least make you forget there was a question for a few months.
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And if no loanee was brought in the likes of Peters and Edwards were converted, awkwardly, from wingers to full-backs, while current skipper Chambers switched from the centre of defence to the right under Mick McCarthy.
There were forgettable stop gaps like Zuiverloon, Wabara, Orr and Richardson while none of the most-recent crop of permanent players, Spence, Donacien and Emmanuel, have been able to make the spot their own.
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So enter the newest pretender, Kane Vincent-Young.
He's purpose-bought, at a not-insignificant £500,000 from Colchester, and has been brought in on a four-year contract. Clearly there's faith there that he can a mainstay of Paul Lambert's side for some time. He's ticked a box there already, given so many have passed through Portman Road on short-term deals.
He can play multiple positions but, if you ask both Lambert and the 23-year-old, he's a natural right-back. Another box ticked.
Perhaps the best comparison from the list at the top of this article is Hewitt, a young Welshman signed from Macclesfield in 2012. He was just a teenager then, five years younger that Vincent-Young, but Hewitt was brought in as the long-term heir at right-back.
Sadly it didn't happen and the Welsh defender is now at Grimsby following four years at Notts County.
But the early sightings of Vincent-Young have been hugely promising.
He's comfortable in all three thirds of the pitch, likes the ball at his feet and has a confident first touch which he uses to help move his side forward. He gets beyond his winger, is happy to cross or lay the ball off and can drive towards goal and test his man.
He won the penalty, converted by James Norwood, for Town's second goal against Shrewsbury on Saturday and was a big part of the sweeping build-up play which produced Flynn Downes' diving header for the third.
That's the attacking side of his full-back play and, while he we perhaps need to see him tested more in a defensive capacity before truly passing judgement, he's been tidy in that area, too.
Comparisons to Wilnis have already been made, though Town's No.24 did have to admit he hadn't heard of the Dutchman when the similarities were pointed out to him.
"I'm not familiar with him, but I'll take it as a compliment," he said.
And so he should. Wilnis was an institution at right-back and performed at a high level for nearly 10 years at Portman Road. There are comparisons aplenty, too, and not only because Vincent-Young has already shown off 'step-overs' similar to those used by the Dutch defender during his time at Portman Road.
It's early days and he's got plenty more to prove, but Vincent-Young has already ticked many of the right-back boxes. It helps that he's playing in a side that's winning games, too.
History shows we should beware of false dawns but, whisper it quietly, there's a chance Ipswich Town might have found an answer to a decade-old problem.