‘He’s a really good player who can play a number of positions’ - Lambert backs flexible Judge to find his form
- Credit: Archant
Paul Lambert believes Alan Judge can be an effective force ‘in a number of positions’ for Ipswich Town.
The Irishman has made five starts and four substitute appearances for Ipswich this season, following an injury-disrupted summer during which he was the subject of real transfer interest from QPR, but has struggled to hit top gear.
Judge, who has stated his preference for playing as a central attacking midfielder, has played much of his football in a wide left role this season and was deployed as a second striker during Saturday's 1-0 win at Gillingham.
Lambert has previously admitted the interest from Rangers - which Judge hoped to pursue given it would have allowed his family to continue living in West London at a time when his young daughter required major surgery in the capital - unsettled his player but remains convinced the 30-year-old can be a force wherever he is deployed.
"He deserved a goal on Saturday because he did everything right, took the goalkeeper out of it and hit the post," Lambert said. "I'm happy with Judgey and the way he played.
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"I think the QPR thing and everything that went on meant his head was (a little all over the place) but that can happen and it doesn't surprise me. I knew it would happen but I also know he's a really good player who can play in a number of positions.
"He can play wide, he can play as a 10 and he can play in midfield. I played him up front off of Kayden (Jackson) on Saturday because I knew he could cause trouble which he did, because he can come in short, he can go back, and he plays a free role.
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"I've been really happy with the way he's played, every time I've played Judgey and that's not a problem."
When discussing his difficult summer as part of a club interview last month, Judge admitted he had questioned his ability during the slow start to his season but had been reassured by Lambert.
"I think he was over-thinking the game," the Town boss said. "It's an easy game which can become over-complicated if you over-think it and that's what I said to him: 'You're over-thinking it, just let your natural talent come through'.
"It's not rocket science for me to say that to him because he will do things instinctively to come back to that level again.
"Every player is different to each other so you need that team side to it. There will be players who can't do what Judgey does and he won't be able to do what other guys do, so it's a team thing.
"That's what we need to have because it's what will win us things."