Report Card: Grading the progress of Town’s homegrown youngsters in turbulent campaign
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 May 2019
In part four of our Report Card series, STUART WATSON takes a look at how the club’s homegrown players fared in the 2018/19 campaign.
It's been a desperate season for Ipswich Town, resulting in the club slipping into the third tier for the first time since 1957.
As part of our Report Card series, we've been reviewing the campaign for every player who made a start for the club during the course of the campaign.
We've already covered the senior players who were at the club prior to the arrival of Paul Hurst, the former Town boss's lower league recruits, as well as the other new players who arrived at Portman Road.
Now it's the turn of the homegrown youngsters.
REPORT CARD PART ONE: Grading the men McCarthy left behind at Portman Road
REPORT CARD PART TWO: Grading Hurst's lower-league signings following steep Ipswich Town learning curve
REPORT CARD PART THREE: Grading the hits and misses of Town's dozen temporary signings
An up and down campaign for the tenacious midfielder. Started just three games under Paul Hurst - the new manager's first (2-2 v Blackburn), one in the middle (a 2-0 loss at Hull in which he was dispossessed for the early opener) and his last (2-0 at Leeds).
Played a lot after Lambert's arrival and looked good in a more advanced role.
Fire needs to be used properly. Had to be subbed after picking up a silly booking in the FA Cup loss at Accrington. Red-mist also descended after coming on late in fiery East Anglian derby.
Failure to stop the cross which led to Wigan's late leveller was highlighted by his manager. Dropped out the team an eight-game spell which included a win and five draws.
Ended the campaign on a high by scoring his first senior goal against Leeds. Has a broad range of attributes, just needs to become more consistent and believe in himself.
Starts: 22 Subs: 8 Mins: 1896 Goals: 1
Following three-and-a-half years playing the odd game here and there, the 22-year-old finally got his chance to shine after Jonas Knudsen made it clear he wanted to move on. Started 18 of the final 22 league games and showed real signs of progress.
On the ball he looks calm. The jink inside and positive pass has become a trademark. The driving run and cross which led to a Bristol City own goal in March was brilliant.
Defensively there is room for improvement. Was beaten far too easily ahead of Birmingham's opener at Portman Road and had other lapses in concentration. To be fair, he has lacked cover given 'winger' Alan Judge has a tendency to drift inside.
Looks in pole position to be the starting left-back next season.
Starts: 18 Subs: 1 Mins: 1626 Goals: 0
So good to see the twinkle-toed midfielder back on the pitch regularly following three injury-ravaged years.
Several milestone moments. Back-to-back starts in the space of four days against Derby and Stoke. Finally completed his first full match for the club in the home draw against Birmingham. Four successive starts in April.
Looks to have got stronger. Can now drive past opponents as well as drift past them. Pre-season will do him the world of good.
Starts: 13 Subs: 7 Mins: 1135 Goals: 0
A frustrating comeback campaign following a year sidelined with a cruciate knee injury.
Treated with kid gloves by both Hurst and Lambert. When he did make the odd appearance, perhaps understandably due to a lack of match conditioning, games passed him by.
Started six of the last 10 games though and slowly but surely started to get back up to speed. Needs to get stronger and improve his defensive contribution, but must never lose sight of the fact his major strength lies in being able to see and execute killer passes.
Like Downes, he ended the season on a high by scoring against Leeds. Like Bishop, he'll benefit hugely from a proper pre-season.
Ability beyond question. Needs to show he can boss games.
Starts: 11 Subs: 9 Mins: 1054 Goals: 1
A major bright spot in a season to forget.
Burst on the scene on October and, following four bright cameo displays, made his senior debut in centre-midfield at Nottingham Forest.
Four more starts followed, the 19-year-old used on the right side of a front three. Played with a confidence that belied his age and Town's predicament. Takes people on, can deliver a wicked set-piece and poses a real goal threat cutting inside on his wand of a left foot.
Hit the post at West Brom and a fine curling finish against Millwall. Such a shame his breakthrough campaign was cut short by a back problem in February.
Starts: 5 Subs: 6 Mins: 521 Goals: 1
Second loan spell in League One was less successful. Having been a regular for promoted Rotherham in 2017/18 he was sent back from relegation fighting Shrewsbury on January 18 following a change of manager at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Arrival of James Bree on loan from Aston Villa limited him to just four outings. Did well in the 1-1 draw at Bristol City, scored an unfortunate own goal in the 2-1 win at Bolton following another solid display and was part of the 1-1 draw with Birmingham when relegation was confirmed.
Subbed at half-time in the 4-0 thrashing at Preston though, with Paul Lambert saying he thought the 21-year-old 'struggled'. Didn't play again.
Starts: 4 Subs: 0 Mins: 316 Goals: 0
Idris El Mizouni
French-born, Tunisian youth international made his debut late on at Bristol City in March. Cameos against Hull and Brentford followed. Made his full debut in the 4-0 defeat at Preston.
Shouldn't be judged on that game at Deepdale given the team's flat performance days after relegation was confirmed and the fact he played out of position on the right.
Has been a key figure for the club's table-topping Under-23s. A central midfielder who wants the ball, can take people on and find a pass.
Starts: 1 Subs: 3 Mins: 100 Goals: 0
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