Reaction: McCarthy praises young full-backs Emmanuel and Kenlock
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy praised teenage full-backs Josh Emmanuel and Myles Kenlock after their impressive displays in this afternoon’s 3-2 home win over MK Dons.
Right-back Emmanuel, 18, and left-back Kenlock, 19, were both handed starts as McCarthy named an experimental starting line-up for a dead rubber of a season-finale at Portman Road.
The Blues may have conceded two sloppy goals to twice be pegged back by already-relegated opposition, but they attacked with much more vim and vigour than they have of late and the youthful enthusiasm of their full-backs contributed to a far more entertaining spectacle on Suffolk soil.
“It’s just convinced me that I’ve got two young full-backs who can actually play in the team rather than looking elsewhere,” said McCarthy. “They are both still young, 18 and 19, but they’ve done really well and I’m delighted with them.
“The senior lads at the back have been great for three, stroke four seasons since I’ve been here. Chambers, Berra, Smith, Cresswell, Mings or Knudsen – they’ve served me and this club so well it’s been hard for them to get in.
“If I’m being brutally honest, Myles has got done for the second goal when he got nudged by Revell, but he makes up for that because his cross for the winner was brilliant. And Josh has being doing great, but he’s still young.”
When it was put to him that it had been a more exciting match than recent home games, he said: “Exciting? I’m not so sure that’s the adjective I’d use to be quite honest with you, it was frustrating for me.
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“We started really well, could have had a second, then gave an absolutely bonkers goal away. We were all out of shape, lost a penalty, then we get a second and give another really disappointing goal away.
“Then we won it and Myles Kenlock, who I thought was a real plus point, crosses for Reg (Luke) Varney to get the winner (in the 90th minute).
“The scoreline makes it look like an exciting game, which I guess it was, but there was some good and some bad in that.”
A better than usual crowd of more than 19,000 watched this game and many stayed behind at the end to show the players their appreciation during the traditional lap of honour.
“I wanted to really show my appreciation to the fans because I’ve had nothing but support from them from the day I first arrived in November 2012,” said McCarthy. “It’s just been a little bit tough of late. I’ve had some tart comments and caustic comments at me, but in the main I’ve had really good support. I went to the supporters’ do and that was really humbling.
“I was never, ever not going to walk around and say thank you to the fans.
“I do think, if we all analyse it, we’ve had a good season – we’ve just had a difficult end to it.
“Over the piece I think they’ve seen more good performances and results than bad. I think they appreciate the effort the players give every week. When I first arrived people said the club was a shambles and players didn’t care, but that couldn’t be said now. It’s a well-run club with a team that fights tooth and nail.”
Two more positives from today was another encouraging display from David McGoldrick, as he looks to book his place in the Republic of Ireland squad for the European Championships, and Teddy Bishop making his first league start of an injury-hit campaign.
“I sincerely hope that Didzy (McGoldrick) is fully fit and he goes and he plays for Ireland at the Euros,” said McCarthy. “He deserves that after the couple of stop-start seasons he’s had with injuries.
“He’s such a good player and I still don’t think he’s 100%. There are times today he lost the ball, but I think he had another good game and he conducted our play, orchestrated our play a lot. He’s still getting there.
“If he’s lucky enough to be picked by Martin O’Neill I’ll be delighted because he’s got the ability to play at that level.”
On Bishop, who was subbed in the 62nd minute, he added: “I said to him coming off ‘well done, but I think you were knackered’ and he said ‘no, I was alright’. Yeah, well, if that’s him at his best then he wouldn’t play every week! There is more to come from him. When he runs through the defence in the second half, that’s him. He’s a really talented lad and hopefully we can get him right for the start of next season.”
Unwilling to comment on the future of match-winner Luke Varney, whose short-term deal expires in the summer, McCarthy said: “I’ll talk to him this week. He’s an outstanding pro and an outstanding character. He is a shining example to anyone that snaps their Achilles. I’m so pleased Marcus (Evans) had faith in him. We supported him after his injury and he’s rewarded us for that support.”