The seven Ipswich Town youngsters facing a big 2017/18 season
- Credit: James Ager
Following breakthroughs for Myles Kenlock and Josh Emmanuel, who will be the next homegrown success story for Ipswich Town? Stuart Watson looks at seven youngsters facing a big 2017/18.
Having burst on the scene with a goalscoring senior debut aged just 16 back in April 2016, Blues supporters probably expected to see more of the technically gifted midfielder last season. He was restricted to just nine appearances though, mainly around the difficult turn of the year spell.
On Boxing Day the game went on around him and he was subbed at half-time of a comprehensive 2-0 home defeat to Fulham. Four days later he stepped off the bench and ran the show with a bewildering array of passes in a 2-1 home win over Bristol City.
McCarthy said: “It would have been great if the team had been playing really well and he could have fitted in and not be needed to do so much, I guess, but we weren’t playing that well and Dozzer is going to struggle (in that situation), as would any youngster coming in.”
Few are expecting the 18-year-old to play week-in, week-out just yet, but it would be good to see him as a go-to option off the bench when games are there to be one. He’s part of the England Under-19 squad which is heading to Georgia for the European Championships next month so will miss the start of pre-season.
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The London-born 19-year-old joined Town’s academy in 2011 and was on the fringes of the first team at the age of 16. McCarthy even put him on the bench for an East Anglian derby at Carrow Road.
Injuries and self-admitted ‘attitude problem’ halted his progress, but he’s firmly back on track now. The all-action teenager scored five goals and provided several assists to help Aldershot Town seal a National League play-off place during a sparkling loan spell.
A host of Premier League scouts have reportedly been tracking his progress, but the Blues have the option to extend his contract by a further year and are in negotiations about a longer-term deal. Was recently handed his first senior call-up by Zimbabwe, the birthplace of his parents.
The diminutive left-footed midfielder was born in Zimbabwe but moved to England at a young age and joined the Blues’ academy at the age of 10.
He caught the eye when handed a cameo display in a pre-season game at Cambridge United last summer, signed a two-year professional deal on his 17th birthday in November, then was included in an England Under-18 squad in March.
McCarthy has name checked Nydam on several occasions when asked about young prospects.
Another central midfielder, but a very different type. The 18-year-old, still a second-year scholar, is an aggressive, tenacious player who has picked up a few red cards.
He hails from Brentwood, Essex and has been at the club since the age of seven. McCarthy put him on the bench for the final game of the season as Town lost 3-0 at Nottingham Forest.
“He’s got a really good chance,” said the Blues boss. “Technically he’s a very good footballer. He’s athletic, he puts his foot in and he’s a real competitor and winner. He shows no respect for the first-team in training. He comes and dumps them on their backsides if he needs to. I like that.”
The New Zealand-born forward turned down a scholarship at a Chicago University to join the Town academy in 2013.
A right-footed player who likes to drift inside from the left, he was handed his first senior Kiwi call-up last summer and netted his first international goal, against the USA, in October.
He scored two goals in 13 appearances for National league side Braintree Town last season and has had his deal extended by 12 months.
The Southend-born central midfielder started at Arsenal’s academy and had a trial at Manchester United before joining Town at the age of 16. He looked the most likely to make a senior breakthrough last summer after featuring heavily in pre-season, but appears to have dropped down the pecking order.
Speaking last July, McCarthy said: “Blanch has always been one that I’ve fancied would come through.”
The Colchester-born striker, who turns 18 next month, has been prolific at youth team levels and had a brief spell on loan at National League side Woking last season. Could be set for another temporary spell away.