'It's up to me to keep my place' - Skuse insists he'll earn his starting spot
PUBLISHED: 06:00 16 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 16 August 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Cole Skuse knows he will have to be at the top of his game if he is to nail down a regular place in Paul Hurst’s midfield but insists he has never taken his starting spot for granted.
The midfielder played more than 200 games under former Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy and, after impressing in pre-season, has also started both of Paul Hurst’s league games as Blues manager.
Skuse has echoed the comments of captain Luke Chambers, who said the need to prove himself to a new manager has driven him on, but insists it would be wrong to suggest he had entered the comfort zone under his former boss.
“I think Chambo’s speaking on behalf of everyone,” Skuse, who was an unused substitute in the Carabao Cup defeat at Exeter, said.
“Although I played a lot of games under Mick McCarthy, at no stage did I come in taking my place for granted. I still like to think I played very hard, trained very hard and liked to do things properly.
“Hopefully the gaffer and Doigy have seen that so far and that’s why I’m playing games now. They haven’t picked me just because I played a lot of games under the old manager.
“I have to work and train hard and hopefully that’s why I’m playing.
“Once everyone is fit there are a lot of players capable of playing in the middle of midfield and if the gaffer takes me out the side then I am old enough and long enough in the tooth to know that’s how football works.
“But it’s up to me to keep my place.”
Skuse’s midfield role has changed following the arrival of Hurst, with the 32-year-old given more freedom to play and expected to take the ball off the back four and provide a starting point for Ipswich attacks.
While it’s a different role to what he’s been used to, it’s something he feels comfortable doing having played a similar style in his early days at Bristol City.
“Any manager would have made changes, whoever came in, and we’ve had a very high turnover of players in and out,” he said.
“It’s definitely different to the last four or five years I’ve had here but it’s something I’ve experienced in my career before.
“I’ve not always been a deep-lying midfielder – when I first started out at Bristol City I played in a two-man midfield and looked to get forward.
“So it is different and I’m only doing what I asked. If the gaffer wants me to play there then it’s not absolutely alien to me.”