Richards: I can do the job
IT is no secret that Ipswich Town are looking for a new left-back but current incumbent Matt Richards is not about to lay down and die.The 20-year-old, who holds the record as being the Blues youngest European debutant, bristles slightly when the subject is brought up but answers calmly, the determination shining in his steely blue eyes.
By Derek Davis
IT is no secret that Ipswich Town are looking for a new left-back but current incumbent Matt Richards is not about to lay down and die.
The 20-year-old, who holds the record as being the Blues youngest European debutant, bristles slightly when the subject is brought up but answers calmly, the determination shining in his steely blue eyes.
“That is my position and I know 110 per cent that I can do that job better than anyone else here,” he told the EADT. “All I have to do is go out and prove it. I know I can do it but it is up to me to show it.
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“I know I need to work on the things that need improving on and I will continue to do that. Hopefully, I can show the coaching staff that the left-back position is my place.
Richards, who won an England Under-21 cap last year, is also aware of shortcomings, not just down his side but defensively all-round and he is working to put it right.
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He said: “This is my fourth season and, even though I'm still young and still learning, I know I need to put that into a game situation.
“Defensively as a back four, we have been working as a group instead of just individually. We have been working on communicating and all round defending so we can get everything right.
“I have already learnt a lot from the experienced players and I will carry on doing that.”
An Essex boy, who was a more than decent rugby player, Richards has been with Ipswich Town since he was 10 years old and even if he loses his place, he refuses to entertain slapping in a transfer request or asking to go out on loan.
Richards said: “No way. I love it here at Ipswich. I like the way we play, I like everyone here, coaching staff, players everything about the club and I want to play first-team football for Ipswich Town.”
Playing a part in blanking Atletico Madrid at Portman Road tonight would go some way to helping his cause and team morale ahead of the season opener next week at home to Cardiff City.
He said: “A clean sheet would be good for the whole team, not just the defence, and it will set us up for the new season.”
Town can't say they are not ready for any sort of style after meeting Scottish, Hungarian and now Spanish opposition before taking on the Welsh side in the Championship, with Colchester United in between.
Richards said: “We have had a mix of all different teams and that has been good for us. It helps us learn about different tactics, styles and situations.
“You have to concentrate 100 per cent for every game, whether it is Boston or Atletico Madrid.
“They are an exceptional team with Spanish internationals in the side and we know they will come at us and give us problems.
“But it is good to play against teams like that.”
Spanish triallist Luis Castro Rodrigues, known as Sito Castro, gets a run out at right-back tonight, while Kevin Horlock may get another go at left-back at some point, as Town look at their options.
While things are being sorted out at the back, injuries mean a disruption to the Sam Parkin/Nicky Forster partnership.
Assistant manager Willie Donachie said: “It is a shame but they are experienced players and it won't take them long to get an understanding going. It also gives a chance to the younger players like Dean McDonald.
“I hope he does well, he seems a nice person and we need to add to the squad.”
Forster misses out with a thigh strain, although he could be given a run-out against Colchester United on Tuesday.
Although Dean Bowditch trained yesterday and came through without a problem, he is also left out of the squad as a precaution after recently recovering from a bruised foot and sore ankle.
Atletico flew into Birmingham yesterday with a 22-man squad to face Town tonight. They then take on MK Dons, Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion over the next 10 days.
Ipswich Town (from): Price, Supple, Wilnis, Richards, Rodrigues, De Vos, Naylor, Horlock, Collins, Casement, Juan, Magilton, Garvan, Westlake, Currie, McDonald, Parkin and Knights.