McCarthy has had the biggest influence on Gleeson’s career... and the Town boss probably doesn’t know it
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Stephen Gleeson has hailed Mick McCarthy as the biggest influence on his career - and the Ipswich Town boss probably doesn’t even know it.
The Republic of Ireland international will spend the rest of the season at Portman Road after the Blues took over his Birmingham contract, in a move which reunites Gleeson with the man who gave him his professional debut at Wolves back in 2007.
But he ultimately made just one start for the Molineux-based club, with McCarthy honestly telling him he didn’t believe he was good enough for the Championship, prompting loan spells at the likes of Stockport and Hereford before a permanent move to MK Dons.
Without those words, Gleeson believes he may not be back in the second tier now.
“Even growing up watching him as the Ireland manager you are taken aback by his presence, so to then have him as a manager at Wolves was just brilliant,” Gleeson said.
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“Without him knowing it I think he is probably the biggest influence on my career, by him telling me I wasn’t quite good enough for the Championship with Wolves.
“It gave me the kick up the backside to go and play football and I think it was a good thing that he did for me and I will always thank him for that.
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“It was hard but it’s the brutal honest truth that you probably need at that age and it’s the best thing that’s happened to me.
“He probably forgets he said it, to be honest, but it’s something that will always stick in my head.”
Gleeson has enjoyed his first few days playing under McCarthy again, with his fresh start offering him a chance to play given he managed just seven appearances during the first half of the season with Birmingham.
“Mick has probably calmed down a little bit since those days at Wolves, although TC (Terry Connor) has got a bit more aggravated,” Gleeson joked. “But they are both the same people I knew nine or 10 years ago so it’s good to see them again and work with them here at Ipswich.
“My contract is until the end of the season for now but if people are impressed then we’ll see about the future. It’s like a new lease of life for me and I like that – I want to be back enjoying my football and be happy.
“For me personally I probably don’t want the season to end to be honest.”