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‘I like to be the leader’ – New signing McGuinness on what he hopes to bring to Ipswich Town

PUBLISHED: 17:38 22 September 2020 | UPDATED: 19:02 22 September 2020

Ipswich Town have signed defender Mark McGuinness on a season-long loan from Arsenal. Photo: ITFC

Ipswich Town have signed defender Mark McGuinness on a season-long loan from Arsenal. Photo: ITFC

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Ipswich Town have signed centre-back Mark McGuinness on a season-long loan from Arsenal.

The 19-year-old was captain and man-of-the-match when the Gunners’ Under-21s won 2-1 at Portman Road in the EFL Trophy earlier this month.

He arrives to provide extra competition at the heart of Paul Lambert’s defence. Toto Nsiala and James Wilson have started the last two games for the Blues, with Luke Chambers required at right-back due to the continued absence of Kane Vincent-Young (Achilles) and both Luke Woolfenden (groin) and Corrie Ndaba (dead leg) currently sidelined.

Born in London, McGuinness has represented the Republic of Ireland at U19 level. The 6ft 4in defender will wear the No.2 shirt for the Blues.

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He said: “I’m buzzing. It’s been a long time coming so I’m really happy to be here. I spoke to Paul (Lambert) yesterday and met all the boys today. They seem a really good bunch of lads, there’s a good team spirit, and I just really look forward to hopefully adding to that.

“I feel like I’ve been ready to go out on loan for a while, but I picked up a few injuries last season unfortunately. This year I’m ready to push on. When this opportunity came around I was so excited to join a such a big club like Ipswich.

“I know there have been difficult times over the last few years here and I know how much this club means to the fans. That drew me in. I can’t wait to get started.”

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Reflecting on his recent display at Portman Road, McGuinness said: “I’ve always enjoyed playing in the EFL Trophy games because if you play well it puts you on the map – and that’s what’s happened here. I really enjoyed playing at the stadium, even though there were no fans, and to get the win, even though you guys won’t like me saying that!

“I started off well in pre-season, was involved a bit with the first team, scored in a friendly against MK Dons, and that really helped me great ready to go out.”

Asked to describe his style of play, McGuinness said: “I love to head the ball! You’ll have seen that if you watched the Trophy game. Being my size I should be a threat in both boxes really.

“I like to be the leader and take control. That’s always been a part of my game that I’ve excelled at, so hopefully I can help the team in that sense as well. I know I am young and there are more experienced players here than me, but hopefully we can come together as a team and push on.

Arsenal U21 skipper Mark McGuinness and Aaron Drinan contest a high ball.  Photo: Steve WallerArsenal U21 skipper Mark McGuinness and Aaron Drinan contest a high ball. Photo: Steve Waller

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“My main priority is defending, I like to keep the ball out of the net, but I know this is a ball playing team and being at Arsenal for nine years that’s something in my game as well.”

On his personal goals for the season ahead, he added: “I’m hoping to be involved in the majority of the games. I know the boys have started off really well, so it’s not like I can just walk into the team, but I’m open to that challenge.

“I hope that Ipswich get promoted – I think that’s the main goal for everyone.”


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