‘It depends exactly what you’re wanting’ – Hurst on his right-back selection headache
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Hurst is considering using Matthew Pennington at right-back for the long term.
Pennington was signed on a season-long loan from Everton in the closing stages of loan deadline very much as a centre-back.
The 23-year-old went straight into the team alongside Luke Chambers at the heart of defence for the East Anglian derby against Norwich.
He impressed in that match, as well as the subsequent games against Hull and Brentford, but was moved to right-back for last weekend’s goalless home draw with Bolton to facilitate Toto Nsiala’s return to the team following a three-game suspension.
Janoi Donacien was the player to miss out, again the fall guy as Paul Hurst was forced to leave out one of his six loanees, though that situation no longer applies following Jonathan Walters’ loan ending injury.
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Asked if Pennington could play right-back in the long-term, Hurst replied: “Yes, I think so. It depends exactly what you’re wanting. Maybe something that you wouldn’t automatically pick up on and know as a fan is how fit he is.
“He’s an extremely fit player, he gets up and down the pitch extremely well and I spoke to a manager that had worked with him before and he had said he did a really good job for him at right-back. So I think he’s definitely got that in his locker.
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“Initially he was signed as a centre-back, admittedly, but given how well he’d done, and with other things to consider in terms of the make-up of the team, we’d had to be strong in certain areas (against Bolton). Perhaps if he wasn’t in there against Bolton last week I thought we might struggle in certain departments.
“Yes, he can certainly do that (right-back) but at the same time I fully aware we’ve got another couple of lads that want to be considered as well.”
Speaking further on Pennington, Hurst added: “He’s got a fantastic attitude, I can’t speak highly enough of him. I think there was a player from Everton on loan here last year, Callum Connolly, and I think they’re very, very similar by all accounts in terms of attitude and the way they conduct themselves,
“Excellent young pros, credit to themselves and probably to Everton Football Club as well. I think he’s done very well since he joined us just before the deadline.”