‘The young lad is a really good player’ - Lambert on new signing McGuinness
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.
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.
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.
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.
“It’ll raise their game as well, knowing that they have really good players behind them.”
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.
“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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