Chambers is a brilliant captain and leader - but should he still be first choice for Town?
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
It’s a conversation that seems to rear its head every few months - and, after his howler in the West Ham friendly defeat, many Ipswich Town fans are once again fiercely debating whether or not Luke Chambers deserves to be in the side.
Chambers, who signed for Town from Nottingham Forest in July 2012, has been a stalwart at Portman Road since, a passionate and inspirational captain and leader who seemingly bleeds blue and white, and has frequently either put his body on the line - notably playing with fractured ribs – or accepted playing out of position for the good of the team.
His fist pumps post victory are iconic and, whatever the criticism thrown at him, or however badly the side have been playing, as skipper he’s always stepped forward and faced the backlash.
Hell, he’s even had young Town players living with him as he tries to lead by example. Chambers is, by any definition, a model professional.
But, approaching a season in which he’ll turn 35, and with boss Paul Lambert apparently wed to the idea of playing out from the back again, requiring his centre-backs to be comfortable and calm with the ball at their feet, should the skipper still command a starting spot in the squad?
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He had ups and downs last season - the mistake against Sunderland standing out – but his error against West Ham has just reignited the debate.
Of course, one could argue that Town were playing just their third match since March 7, against higher-level opposition, as they try to bed in a new way of playing. Mistakes are to to be expected. All justified, valid arguments.
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Lambert certainly said as much after the game. “Mistakes can happen because five months off is a really long time,” he told us. “Luke (Chambers) knows it’s sloppy, but he’ll not do it again. He may as well do it now.
“Everybody knows. You don’t need to be Einstein to work out where the mistakes came from today. But football-wise and the way we handled the ball, I’m really, really pleased.”
Or was the mistake - Chambers turning into trouble in his own box, gifting possession and a hat-trick to Sebastien Haller – just the latest sign of a terminal decline which makes him a liability for a side which must simply push for promotion this season?
And if not Chambers, who steps in? Luke Woolfenden is a nailed-on starter, but could one honestly argue that any of Toto Nsiala, James Wilson or Corrie Ndaba is a better option alongside him than Chambers?
- What do you think? Let us know!