Tommy Smith reveals why he was unavailable for New Zealand and discusses his contract, big transfer fees and a decade at Portman Road

Tommy Smith sends the ball into the area late in the second half of the Ipswich Town v Preston North

Tommy Smith sends the ball into the area late in the second half of the Ipswich Town v Preston North End (Championship) football match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 16 January 2016. Picture: Steve Waller - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Defender Tommy Smith spoke to the media prior to Ipswich Town’s trip to QPR, discussing his New Zealand future, contracts and 10 years with the Blues.

Reading V Ipswich at the Madejski Stadium.
Tommy Smith

Reading V Ipswich at the Madejski Stadium. Tommy Smith

What’s your contract situation?

“My contract finishes at the end of this season but the club have the option to extend that by a further year.

“My agent has been in contact, but Marcus (Evans) is away for a few weeks at the moment so there is no real progress on that front.

Do you see yourself staying at Ipswich for a while yet?

“Hopefully, I’ve enjoyed my football, we’re being quite successful and there is no reason for me to want to move at the moment.

You’re coming up to 10 years at the club now. Any thoughts about a testimonial?

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“To be honest I haven’t even looked into that. I think this is my seventh season in the first team. Obviously it would be nice if I could stick around for that long and if the club will have me for that long. At the moment that’s not in the forefront of my mind though.

Tommy Smith is mobbed after scoring during the first half at Leeds in September

Tommy Smith is mobbed after scoring during the first half at Leeds in September

How did the squad react to a quiet transfer deadline day at Portman Road?

“When the window shut he said to us that if he was to bring any players in he would have to spend millions and millions of pounds to better what we have here, which obviously we can’t do at the moment with whatever Marcus has given the gaffer.

“He’s worked wonders in the transfer market without spending any massive fees and long may that continue.

Does a big transfer fee put pressure on players?

“I would imagine that adds a dimension of pressure. Look at how much Middlesbrough have just spent to get Jordan Rhodes – there will be expectation on him to deliver now, massive pressure on his shoulders.

“If you’re commanding that sort of fee and earning those sort of wages there’s normally a reason though and those sort of players usually thrive on that sort of pressure.”

How do you think the rest of the league sees you?

“I think we’ve earnt that respect from how we went about our business last season and that’s made it that bit tougher for us this season because people know what we’re about.

“That’s maybe why we had that tougher period earlier in the season, because teams were more prepared to face us, but we’ve managed to overcome that now and hopefully we can go on another good run to really cement our place in the top six.

How can your wide players help you away from home?

“The onus is usually on the home team to attack.

“We don’t usually sit in to defend when we go away though and with that pace on the flanks we have that counter-attacking threat that maybe we haven’t had in the past.

“That’s added another string to our bow this season, for sure.”

You missed a game for New Zealand earlier in the season due to ‘personal reasons’, can you shed any light on that now?

“At the time I didn’t want to say, but my family were over from New Zealand and I proposed to my girlfriend. I’d had that planned for ages, but I didn’t want to say that was the case until it happened. She said yes after some gentle persuasion! The wedding is booked for June 2017.

“My mum and dad moved back over there last January. My sister and her husband live there too. It’s nice to see them whenever I can.”

Are you availale for the OFC Nations Cup this summer?

“I don’t know what’s happening with the March international, obviously that might be affected if we are in the play-offs, but I’ll definitely be available for the summer tournament.”

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