‘I won’t close the door on Ipswich... but I want to play as high as I can’ - Garbutt on his future
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 June 2020
Luke Garbutt enjoyed a good season despite Ipswich Town’s struggles on the pitch. Andy Warren spoke to the loanee following his exit from Portman Road.
As Luke Garbutt left the field following another excellent display in September’s 4-1 demolition of Tranmere, Ipswich Town were only heading in one direction.
The Everton loanee had found the top corner with a stunning free-kick, as sweet a strike as Portman Road had seen in years, before turning provider in the second period as the Blues extended their unbeaten start to 10 games.
Town were top of the table and Garbutt, who scored in both of his first two Town games, had played a major role in putting them there. It looked like they were there to stay and surely, in just a few months, Garbutt would be here to stay as well upon the Blues’ return to the second tier.
But, as we all know, it didn’t turn out that way for Ipswich. And it may well not turn out that way for Garbutt, either.
He will be a free agent when his Everton deal expires in a fortnight and, while he’ll never close the door on a permanent move to Portman Road following an enjoyable loan spell, the 27-year-old simply doesn’t know what comes next.
The global coronavirus pandemic is likely to impact his future one way or another but, even if his destination or the contract offer is altered, one thing remains the same – a desire to play at the highest level he possibly can.
“We’re still pretty early on in the summer still so right now I’m just taking a bit of time to reflect on the season and have some downtime,” the left-sider said.
“My contract at Everton is up on June 30 and I’ll be looking for a new club. The loan at Ipswich has been great for me and the fans have been brilliant. My agent will have discussions with Ipswich and multiple other clubs, probably, and we’ll assess it from there.
“The pandemic is probably going to change the course of football a bit and, right now, it’s hard to really say anything for sure about my future or where I’ll be. It’s too early on and I haven’t a clue. It’s all up in the air.
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“I will never close the door on the possibility of coming back to Ipswich on a permanent basis and it’s something I will definitely consider.
“But as a football player you want to try and play at the highest level you can do. I can’t really comment because I don’t know if there’s an offer on the table from Ipswich or any club for that matter. I can’t say anything.
“I’m a free agent so I’ll let my agent do the negotiations and the business side of it before I make a decision with my family about where I move next and the best football club for me.”
Garbutt is hesitant to describe his season at Portman Road as a good one, even though it was on a personal level. His six goals in 30 games, as well as his set-piece threat, made him one of the stand-out performers in Paul Lambert’s side, but that personal joy is clouded by the fact his team failed in their aim to win promotion.
“On a personal level it’s been a good solid season for me I guess.” he said. “But it’s hard to talk about that when we’ve not delivered as a team.
“I’ve managed to be a fixture in the side, which is something I’ve set out to do, and my stats in terms of goals was decent. I’d have liked a few more assists and maybe a couple more goals had we carried on.
“It’s been a positive experience for me so from my points of view I don’t have too much to complain about. Although I could maybe have played a little better towards the end.
“As a club as a collective we have to be disappointed. We have failed in what we set out to achieve, which was promotion. For a football club of this size to be in League One for another season is disappointing and that has to be used as fuel for next season. The club should be in the Championship.
“I can’t put my finger on why it happened. There wasn’t a point where it felt like the wheels had come off but to not finish higher after such a good start is disappointing. That happens in football because after a few indifferent results you either recover from it and get back going again or you don’t. We didn’t seem to recover.
“The other major factor was doing poorly against the sides around us. That was disappointing. In those crucial games where we needed points we didn’t get them and that cost us. If we’d have got points in those games we could have been comfortable in the table.
“In a season you get tight games and decisions not going your way but that’s football. At the end of the day we can only look at ourselves and what we control. The stats don’t lie. In the home games we expected to do a lot better than we did. There were games where we deserved more than what we got but on others we didn’t do enough.
“To not give the fans promotion after the start we had is extremely disappointing.”
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