'I can pass the ball as well as anyone' - Chambers enjoying ball-playing responsibility
PUBLISHED: 06:00 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:39 20 December 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Luke Chambers is enjoying the responsibility of being asked to play out from the back by new Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert.
Lambert’s football philosophy is high in energy and ‘front foot’ in nature, with the Ipswich Town central defenders asked to split wide, receive the ball from the goalkeeper and feed it into midfield.
Chambers believes Town’s more direct style of play under former boss Mick McCarthy means supporters have not seen his true ability in possession, with the skipper insisting he is comfortable with what he is being asked to do by his new boss.
“From day one he has made it clear how he wants us to play, to play out from the back more than we have done in the past – and with purpose,” Chambers wrote in his column for the matchday programme.
“He said to me when he first came in that he didn’t know what sort of player I was and whether I could play the way he is asking us to play but I have always adapted to every manager I have worked with – and I have always been decent wit the ball.
“People haven’t seen that here maybe because of the way we have played over the last few years. It was more about knocking the ball longer because we weren’t set up to play out from the back.
“In the past when I had the ball, I didn’t have three or four option in front of me. I didn’t get the ball and automatically know where my team-mates were so if you do try and pass in that situation you can put your team-mates in it. That’s not me.
“The gaffer has come in and shown us how to play in a way we have not seen here before. He has given us the confidence to play.
“I am confident in my own ability to handle the ball. I always have been. I know I can play and I think that side of my game has been overlooked.
“I’ve not really been allowed to blossom in that way and that has been frustrating for me at times.”
Chambers 77 per cent pass completion rate was the highest of the Ipswich team during Saturday’s victory over Wigan, with the skipper among the leading players in that statistical category since Lambert’s arrival.
He’s averaged 74 per cent during that time – a rise of 10 per cent on recent seasons.
“When we got to play-offs at Forest I was player of the year and I was known as a ball-playing centre-half,” he continued.
“Over time here that went out of my game and I turned into another style of defender.
“I played at full-back for three years and if I’m looking at that personally, everyone knows I’m a central defender so that didn’t help me really. Though I must have done alright for the team because I played every game and we were in and around the play-offs consistently.
“I can pass the ball as well as anyone but people have not been able to see that side of my game.
“I’ll make mistakes – who doesn’t? But it won’t stop me getting the ball to my feet and being brave with the ball.
“The manager wants to play that way and I’m enjoying the responsibility.”