Reaction: McCarthy jokingly reprimands hat-trick hero Grant Ward for ‘taking selfies’ after dream debut

Grant Ward scored a hat-trick on his Ipswich Town debut. Picture: Steve Waller
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Grant Ward scored a hat-trick on his Ipswich Town debut. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy jokingly reprimanded hat-trick hero Grant Ward for spending too much time ‘taking seflies with his adoring public’ after a dream debut in this afternoon’s 4-2 win over Barnsley at Portman Road.

Ward – who only arrived from Tottenham in a £600k deal on Monday – stepped off the bench at half-time and scored with three sweet strikes as the Blues got their 2016/17 campaign off to a winning start.

The 21-year-old was the last player down the tunnel at the end after spending time with family and fans by the touchline, with McCarthy laughing: “He was signing autographs and having selfies with his adoring public wasn’t he? I thought I’d go and drag him in because, despite the fact he scored the goals, everybody else was on that pitch. It’s a team game. By all means enjoy it, but come in and enjoy it with your team-mates because over the next 45 games they will be running and kicking and biting for each other.

“It’s important he celebrates with his team-mates as well, which he did. They are all delighted for him.”

He added: “I was saying to TC (assistant manager Terry Connor) ‘he’s definitely got a goal in him’, but I didn’t think he’d got three in 45 minutes! They were all really good strikes.

“He’s impressed everybody since he’s come in, as has Conor Grant.”

Following some flat home displays at the back end of last season the Blues started this campaign with around 1,000 less season ticket holders, but they were left thoroughly entertained by a rip-roaring second half in which both teams gave it a real good go.

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“Anybody who came today will have been entertained, no doubt, but I would think, after the first half, they were all thinking of leaving!” said McCarthy, all six goals coming after the break.

“It’s funny what 45 minutes can do. That’s why managers and coaches have to pick the bones out of games and not just go ‘that was great’. You can’t just think everything is rosy, because quite clearly it wasn’t.

“They were the best team in the first half and deserved to be in front. The second half substitutes (Everton loanee Conor Grant also came on at the break) turned it around completely. One of them anyway. They both contributed.

“Conor (Grant) has got a wand of a left foot. It’s fresh blood and hopefully it will continue to work. It did today and hopefully it well for the rest of the season.”

On his decision not to start Ward and Grant, McCarthy said: “I’d made my mind to start with the team I had. To be fair, Bish (Teddy Bishop) has played all the pre-season games. It would have been a little bit unfair on Freddie (Sears) as well.

“Bish was toiling, it was hard work for him with the sun out on the first day of the season. They played well and we had to do a lot of hard work. (Kevin) Bru had been booked, so that one was just common sense to take him off.

“We went 4-3-3 and it worked.”

With Bartosz Bialkowski making a game-turning point-blank save just before half-time, McCarthy said: “That was a bonkers save that, I don’t know how he’s done it. He does it all the time in training and frustrates the hell out of our strikers. He’s a fabulous goalkeeper and that was an outstanding save. I’m not sure how he got his hand to hand.”

He added: “I’m not happy we conceded from two free-kicks and I’m less happy we gave the free-kicks away because we lost the ball on both occasions. It’s nice when you can pick the bones out of it with three points on the table though.”

– See Monday’s EADT and Ipswich Star for comment and more reaction.

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