McCarthy has high hopes for academy midfielder Andre Dozzell
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
There’s a new Dozzell in town and Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has high hopes for the academy prospect.
Andre Dozzell, who will turn 17 in May, was named on the first-team bench for the first time on Saturday.
It sparked memories of the time his father, Jason, stepped off the bench for the Blues aged 16 years and 57 days to become the top-flight’s youngest-ever goalscorer in 1984.
Dozzell junior, capped at England Under-17 level, has been creating a buzz around Playford Road for some time. And he’s not the only midfielder coming through Bryan Klug’s youth ranks that has caught McCarthy’s eye, with Kundai Benyu and James Blanchfield also getting name checks in recent weeks.
The Town boss, whose Championship play-off-chasing team take on rock-bottom Bolton at The Macron Stadium tonight (8pm ko), says he will carefully pick the right moment to blood talented teenagers though.
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“He’s not going to be some sort of saviour to the team and some sort of superhero the age is he, but he’s a really good young player and if circumstances are right for him to get a game then I’ll play him,” said McCarthy, when asked about Dozzell. “That’s not because he is the son of a former player and it’s causing excitement, but actually because he’s a good player.
“He should just be left to develop, become a good player and not have too much pressure on him.
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“There are a few of them like that. Kundai Benyu, Adam McDonnell (signed from Irish side Shelbourne in 2014) and James Blanchfield. There are a group of young midfielders coming through who are very promising.
“The average tenure of a Championship manager is about 10 months so you have to be looking after the here and now, but of course I always have one eye on the future.”
Ipswich Town made a bold pledge back in 2013, when launching their academy fundraising drive, that half of the first team squad would be homegrown by 2017.
McCarthy continued: “Bish (Teddy Bishop) got in the team last season and was a sensation, but even then we had to look after him. It’s a real tough physical environment that they come into. You have to pick and choose when they play and try to get the best out of them.
“If you put them in and they struggle that can be a real set-back to their careers emotionally. It can knock them for a while.
“It is a balancing act, but it does refresh a team if you get one that excites everybody.”
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