‘I don’t know if he wanted to play’ – Lambert on leaving Downes out again

Flynn Downes in the stands for the Wigan game.
Picture: Steve Waller

Flynn Downes in the stands for the Wigan game. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he doesn’t know if Flynn Downes wanted to play in this afternoon’s 2-0 home win against Wigan Atrhletic.

Downes, the Blues’ standout player of last season, recently handed in a transfer request after the club rejected a second bid for him from Premier League club Crystal Palace.

Lambert says he had picked the 21-year-old to start last weekend’s Carabao Cup tie against Bristol Rovers, but pulled the him out of the starting XI after the midfielder said ‘he wasn’t in the right frame of mind’ to play.

Subsequently, Downes hasn’t featured in the matchday squads for games against Arsenal’s Under-21s (EFL Trophy) and today’s League One opener.

Asked what the latest was on that situation, Lambert said: “The guys have done great. What happened last year is finished. You have to perform this year. The kid’s brain was fried from the Palace thing and that ain’t ever going to happen until (owner) Marcus Evans says there’s a really good bid there.

“I will drive Flynn there myself (if that happens), because Flynn has done great for me, absolutely brilliant. But the kid’s head is all over the place. He’s training. That’s it.”

He continued: “The guys at the minute are playing fabulous football. Flynn has to... I don’t know what will happen with Flynn, whether he’ll stay or go, I really don’t know.

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“I think he’s been badly advised on a lot of things. It’s not his fault. My job is his welfare and that’s why I let him go away for a few days. He’s training and that’s what it is.”

Asked if Downes wanted to play today, Lambert replied: “I don’t know if he wanted to play. I don’t know.”

Asked if it was becoming inevitable that the midfielder will move before the transfer window shuts, he said: “It’s only inevitable when the buying and the selling club agree. Unless Marcus Evans say yes or no then we can’t do nothing.”

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