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Lambert nails it! Young players need to play

15 September, 2020 - 17:00
Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert.  Picture: PAGEPIX

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert. Picture: PAGEPIX

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In his weekly look at life at Portman Road, MIKE BACON says he feels Paul Lambert got it spot on his week when he talked about young players going out on loan

Paul Lambert is keen for Armando Dobra and Idris El Mizouni to go out on loan. Picture: ARCHANTPaul Lambert is keen for Armando Dobra and Idris El Mizouni to go out on loan. Picture: ARCHANT

Spot on Paul Lambert!

That was my sentiment when I read this week his views on Armando Dobra and Idris El Mizouni, and how he feels they would benefit by going out on loan.

While I didn’t quite see the necessity to leave them out of the club’s squad photo this season - all seemed a bit unnecessary - I do see the necessity for them to play first-team football on a regular basis.

And if it isn’t going to be at Portman Road at this moment in time, where better than out on loan?

I don’t get it that some feel players who go out on loan have been cast aside by their clubs and have no future. That’s a crazy thing to think. If young players are good enough, clubs will, and quite frankly should, want to develop them - going out on loan can be a perfect way to do so.

Armando Dobra, exciting talent. Picture: ROSS HALLSArmando Dobra, exciting talent. Picture: ROSS HALLS

At the end of the day, the club still owns the player.

I have never believed it is better for a young player to be sitting on the bench in the first team, rather than playing 90 minutes elsewhere. If you are not going to use them, let them play 90 minutes in different and possibly difficult situations out on loan.

It can make a player.

MORE: ‘I always believed it would happen’ - Drinan on his breakthrough at Town

Flynn Downes is fouled by Dele Ali during Ipswich Town's pre-season friendly against Tottenham. Photo: PagepixFlynn Downes is fouled by Dele Ali during Ipswich Town's pre-season friendly against Tottenham. Photo: Pagepix

Look how it helped current Blues players, Flynn Downes and Luke Woolfenden. The pair came back from loan spells at Luton and Swindon, respectively, and promptly announced themselves into the starting XI. Good for them.

Look how it helped Chelsea ace, Tammy Abraham. He’s always my ‘go-to’ example on this front.

Tammy spent three seasons out on loan from Chelsea, at Bristol City, Swansea and Villa, developing all the time. Now he is back at The Bridge - and playing for England.

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I remember seeing Jack Grealish at Colchester United a few seasons ago, while on loan to Notts County. His socks were round his ankles then - now he’s in the England squad.

Dele Alli, signed for Spurs in 2015 and was immediately loaned back to MK Dons from whence he came. He now plays for England.

Harry Kane, had loan spells at Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester before making it at Spurs. He is now England captain.

“Those kids have to play with pressure, we need to get them out playing men’s football and learning the hard way is important for them,” Lambert said this week, talking about the likes of Dobra and El Mizouni.

“Idris is a really good talent. He just needs to play football games.

Luke Woolfenden wins the ball. He enjoyed a successful spell at Swindon on loan    Picture: Steve Waller      www.stephenwaller.comLuke Woolfenden wins the ball. He enjoyed a successful spell at Swindon on loan Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

“Dobra’s another kid that needs constant first team football and in an environment where he can get away from U23 football where there’s no really pressure on you.”

Lambert is totally right.

MORE: The Kieron Dyer column: Tricky time for Flynn and the Blues

Town manager Paul Lambert on the touchline.
    Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comTown manager Paul Lambert on the touchline. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Far too many managers talk the talk about developing young players - from the Premier League through to non-league. But their number one goal is invariably results. If a young player helps, that’s great. But when the going gets tough, it’s often youngsters who are benched, in favour of older, experienced, players - not necessarily more talented players!

What Lambert is saying is that Dobra and El Mizouni have a big future at Portman Road. But they need to play! Dropping down on loan to, say, a League Two side with all the unforgiving nature and physicality that is likely to entail, will give them the opportunity to learn the game.

OK, so it’s not for everyone, I do accept that. The player on loan and the clubs who take them, both have to work exceptionally hard at making it work. And, naturally, some players will say they want to stay and fight for their place in the starting XI. That’s all well and good.

But, as a young player, if you are spending more time watching football, than playing it, you need to think your strategy.

There are lots of young players out there who ‘almost’ made it, or never made it to the heights they could have.

Could a spell out on loan at some stage in their careers, have given them that extra 10%?

Many will never know.


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