‘Andre’s alright... you have to battle past your team-mates’ - Lambert on Dozzell’s lack of action in 2020
PUBLISHED: 09:30 27 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:51 27 February 2020
Paul Lambert knows Andre Dozzell will be frustrated by his lack of action so far in 2020 – but has challenged the young midfielder to force his way into the side and then keep hold of his place.
The 20-year-old hasn't played a single minute of League One football so far this year, with his only involvement of 2020 coming in the EFL Trophy defeat by Exeter at the beginning of January.
He's also missed out on four matchday squads during Ipswich's 10 games so far this year, highlighting his current position in the Portman Road pecking order.
"Andre's alright," Lambert said. "He trains brilliantly, he really does and he has a great enthusiasm for the game.
"It's a case of, once you're in there, you have to try and stay in the side. I know he'll be frustrated because he's a footballer, and a really good one at that, but that's football and you have to battle with your team-mates to get in the side."
Dozzell's Ipswich contract expires this summer but the club are sure to activate a 12-month extension clause within his deal, with discussions regarding a new one yet to reach a positive conclusion.
Speaking recently, general manager of football operations Lee O'Neill said: "Andre is a very good young player, he's still developing. He wants to play week-in, week-out in the first team.
"We hope to get something done, but they are back and forth conversations. That's the same with some other players as well - both young players and senior players.
"In an ideal world, of course we would like to keep him.
"He is a young player who has done very well for us... but he wants to play football. That's an area we're going to have to look at.
"No player wants to train all week, sit on a bus and just watch the game.
"The things we put in place have to be of value to the football club and to the players.
"It's about what we might have coming in, what we can recruit. There are loads of conversations that have to happen. They are happening and they have been happening for a number of months.
"At the end of the season we'll have a better understanding of the economics of what we can and can't do. Those conversations will therefore probably lead all the way up until the summer."
Dozzell was an unused substitute at the weekend as Town lost 1-0 to Oxford.