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‘The young lad is a really good player’ - Lambert on new signing McGuinness

23 September, 2020 - 15:30
Ipswich Town have signed Mark McGuinness on a season-long loan from Arsenal. Photo: ITFC

Ipswich Town have signed Mark McGuinness on a season-long loan from Arsenal. Photo: ITFC

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Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert says that Toto Nsiala and James Wilson have earned the starting spots in the centre of the Blues’ defence - but he expects new signing Mark McGuinness to push them all the way.

Mark McGuinness will compete for a starting spot at the centre of the Town defence. Photo: ITFCMark McGuinness will compete for a starting spot at the centre of the Town defence. Photo: ITFC

The Blues signed 6ft 4ins McGuinness on a season-long loan from Arsenal yesterday, with Lambert having been impressed with the young defender when he skippered the Gunners’ U21 side to victory over Town in the EFL Trophy two weeks ago.

MORE: Playing the piano, developing a ‘super strength’ and comparisons to a legend – A look at Town new boy Mark McGuinness

With ageing warhorse Luke Chambers currently playing at right back and Woolfenden out injured with a groin problem, Nsiala and Wilson have stepped up to the plate in the centre of defence, helping Town keep two clean sheets in their first two League One games and sit top of the early table.

It’s not known when Woolfenden will return, but the signing of McGuinness perhaps suggests that his injury will take longer to heal than first thought. And Lambert says he expects the powerful young Gunner to play his way into the first team picture.

MORE: ‘I like to be the leader’ – New signing McGuinness on what he hopes to bring to Ipswich Town

Lambert told the club website: “James and Toto have been absolutely brilliant for us.

“They hold it at the minute. They’re playing really well and Mark knows that which is good.

“Woolfy (Luke Woolfenden) will need to push to get in as well. That’s important that the two lads who are playing at the minute know that they are in good form and playing well but they also know that they have players breathing down their necks to get in the team.

Mark McGuinness impressed against Town when he captained the Arsenal U21s in the EFL Trophy  Photo: STEVE WALLERMark McGuinness impressed against Town when he captained the Arsenal U21s in the EFL Trophy Photo: STEVE WALLER

“It’ll raise their game as well, knowing that they have really good players behind them.”

MORE: Ipswich Town injury list: A host of big players are sat on the sidelines... here’s when they could return

Of signing McGuinness, the Town boss said he was already on his radar - but his showing in the EFL Trophy game sealed the deal.

“His name was mentioned a few weeks prior to it,” Lambert explained. “We had a chance to see him close up when he played against us. I thought he was excellent.

James Wilson, right, and Toto Nsiala have helped Town keep two clean sheets in their opening league games. Picture Pagepix LtdJames Wilson, right, and Toto Nsiala have helped Town keep two clean sheets in their opening league games. Picture Pagepix Ltd

“I think anybody in the stadium that night would’ve seen that the young lad is a really good player. He’s got a big presence about him so I’m really happy.

“He looked a really good leader as well for somebody so young. His no nonsense approach was really good. He’s comfortable on the ball. It’s a good challenge for him to take on and it should be a beneficial loan move for him.”


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