Mick McCarthy excited by Ipswich Town youth prospect Tristan Nydam
- Credit: James Ager
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy is excited about the club’s latest crop of scholars – especially Tristan Nydam.
The 16-year-old left-footed midfielder or defender was born in Zimbabwe, but moved to England at a young age and joined the Blues’ academy at the age of 10.
He is one of four Town players in or around the England Under-17 set-up at present. Midfielder Andre Dozzell and striker Ben Morris both played at the European Championships in Azerbaijan, while Nydam and keeper Nick Hayes were on standby.
With Nydam one of 10 youngsters that were handed a two-year scholarship last month, McCarthy said: “They are generally miles off the first team at that age group, but there are the certain odd ones that stand out though – as Dozza (Dozzell) has and as Bish (Teddy Bishop) did.
“Tristan Nydam is a good player. He’s the one that’s stood out for us.”
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The likes of Keiron Dyer, Darren Bent, Richard Wright, Titus Bramble and James Scowcroft all emerged from Town’s academy during the late 90s and early 00s, but then came a fallow period.
However, Bryan Klug’s return as academy director in 2012 has coincided with a new crop of talent emerging.
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Teddy Bishop enjoyed an exciting breakthrough season in 2014/15, while Matt Clarke, Dozzell, Josh Emmanuel, Myles Kenlock, Joe Robinson and Adam McDonnell have all made their first-team debuts in recent months. Meanwhile, the likes of Kundai Benyu, James Blanchfield, George Fowler, Monty Patterson, Chris Smith, Shane McLoughlin and Jacob Marsden have all been handed professional deals.
“I see the younger players every day because we are all in the same building and on a lot of days they train with us,” said McCarthy. “On many a Monday morning we put them all together in a big seven, eight, nine-a-side competition just to let them join in with the first-teamers.
“The senior players, the likes of Chambo (Luke Chambers), Skusey (Cole Skuse) and Dougy (Jonathan Douglas), they recognise young talent and often ask ‘who was that?’ after a training session. There are two or three who have stood out.”
When launching their academy fund-raising drive in 2013, the Blues made a bold pledge that half of their first-team squad would be homegrown by 2017. Town failed an audit to achieve Category One academy status by just 0.3% in July 2014. The push to obtain a top-tier label under the Premier League-led controversial Elite Player Performance Plan continues, with managing director Ian Milne recently saying: “(Owner) Marcus (Evans) is putting £2.5m into the academy, plus a new 3G pitch at an extra £750,000.
“It’s a lot of money.”