‘Can he go through the whole season at right-back? Yes, he can’ – Lambert on in-form skipper Chambers
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has called upon Luke Chambers to ‘maintain that standard’ following his flying start to the season and says that the veteran skipper is capable of playing the entire campaign at right-back.
Kane Vincent-Young’s nagging Achilles injury means the Blues captain has been asked to roll back the years and return to the full-back role he fulfilled during the middle part of Mick McCarthy’s managerial reign.
And the recently-turned 35-year-old has done it superbly, proving to be one of the team’s standout players. He’s scored with a fine header against Bristol Rovers, bagged a thunderous volley at Blackpool, provided a sumptuous crossfield assist for Gwion Edwards and forced an own goal at Doncaster with a surging run and cross.
“He’s doing excellent, really, really good,” said Lambert. “I’m really pleased with how he’s adapted and I think he’s enjoying being there on that side.
“I think the level of his performances has been really, really high.”
Chambers made his 334th league appearance for the Blues in midweek, moving into the top 10 all-time league appearance makers for the club.
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Continue to be a regular in the team this season and he would be hot on the heels of the legendary George Burley (8th) in that list. Should the club then take up their one-year extension option in his contract, then he’d have the chance to move into the top five alongside Mick Mills, John Wark, Micky Stockwell and Paul Cooper.
Lambert recently said that Vincent-Young could be back in ‘a month or so’. It’s been almost a year now since the dynamic full-back underwent adductor surgery.
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Asked if Chambers could play right-back for whole season if required, the Blues boss said: “Only his performances will tell me. If he dips or if he gets little knocks or whatever, only Luke will be the judge of that.
“He’s set himself a standard that I think has been so high. He’s been playing really well. Can he go right through the whole season? Yes, he can, but he has to maintain that standard and the way he is performing.
“But his performances at this moment have been incredibly high.”
With Town having another veteran full-back on the left in 35-year-old Stephen Ward, Lambert said: “I think in the modern game, if you’re 35, 36 or 37 and still playing at a really high level, you know that over a 20-year period you’ve looked after yourself.
“And I’m talking about from when Luke started when he was 15, 16 or 17 years old. He’s looked after himself from that age right through to 35 which is great, and I’ve got a lot of admiration for people like that, that look after themselves and don’t let age become a barrier where they let themselves go.
“He’s looked after himself that way. When you stop playing football then your reality becomes normal and your body becomes different to what you were as a footballer, so I’ve got a lot of admiration for people like him, Stephen Ward, Cole Skuse and all those that are in their thirties and still in good nick. He wouldn’t have had the career he had if he didn’t look after himself.”