New system suits new captain Jim

ASK Jim Magilton what his favourite system is and he answers quick as a flash –"Whatever the manager says we are playing".

ASK Jim Magilton what his favourite system is and he answers quick as a flash –"Whatever the manager says we are playing", writes Derek Davis.

Not that old Magic has gone soft in his old age now he is Joe Royle's captain but good players adapt and for Magilton the favoured 4-3-3 allows him a freer role which he enjoys.

He said: "There were games last season which allowed me a lot more freedom which suited the creative side of my game and I didn't have to worry too much about the defensive duties so that was good.

"With this system I'm also allowed to go forth and roam along with Tommy Miller, or whoever, with Georges sitting in front of the back four and that will hopefully allow us to be solid.

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"There is a lot of fluidity in this system and it is one I enjoy playing. If we work hard at it and make it work it can be very successful.

"The Gaffer encourages people to go out and express themselves and people like Tommy love getting into the box and that can bring more goals."

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Football is not essentially about systems, it is about players and Magilton believes they have a squad capable of handling the new shape.

He said: "We didn't have any problem scoring last season but we didn't defend properly as a team. That was simply because we always believed we would score more than them but that didn't always turn out to be the case.

"We have had a pre-season to bed the new system in and it has gone well. We have had problems during spells in a game but overall it has worked and the shape has been pretty good.

"It has instilled confidence now and if we can get the ball to the strikers as quickly as we can they will cause damage and if we keep the ball out at the other end then that will provide a solid start for us."

Magilton will wear the captain's arm-band at Portman Road for the first time since being awarded the club captaincy by Joe Royle in the summer following Matt Holland's departure.

It is a far cry from this time last year when he was on the free transfer list and feeling rejected – but determined to prove people wrong.

He said: "I had my problems last year, personal, and then it came as a bit of a shock when George told me I was surplus to requirements.

"I had a lot of unfinished business and I wanted to prove myself again. As it happens I had a decent season. The new manager came in and it helped because he liked what I do and what I can offer him.

"I'm really looking forward to the season. We have a lot of good young lads in the side and I'm looking forward to being in the team with them, I just hope we have a good start because that will encourage them."

Magilton's determination is matched only by his amazement at the Blues' brilliant backing through months of turmoil on and off the pitch.

He said: "We players can't believe what loyalty these fans have for the football club – it is unbelievable.

"After what has gone on and the troubles the club has gone through they have shown what Ipswich Town means to them.

"I'm sure they will be as vociferous as ever and certainly we need their noise. I just hope we can give them something to shout about."

And if the attacking formation produces what it promises there will be plenty for everyone to shout about.

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