Watch: Flynn Downes sent off for a headbutt in friendly draw at Cambridge United
PUBLISHED: 21:01 27 July 2019 | UPDATED: 21:12 27 July 2019
Flynn Downes dismissal for a headbutt in this afternoon's 0-0 friendly draw at Cambridge United proved to be a major talking point among Ipswich Town fans.
The 20-year-old midfielder - who had put in a very impressive display - reacted angrily to dangerous late tackle by U's player Paul Lewis in the closing stages of the game (video below).
Cambridge striker Jabo Ibhere was also dismissed for his role in the ensuing melee.
The incident has split opinion among Blues fans on social media. Some have strongly condemned Downes' actions, while others have expressed sympathy and defended his passion.
It remains to be seen if he will be handed a ban heading into the start of the League One campaign at Burton next weekend. Red cards in friendlies do not normally carry suspensions, but The FA can take special action once they've looked at the referee's report.
This is not an incident to gloss over. It's very certainly not one to be applauded. But Flynn Downes shouldn't be hung out to dry either.
It was a bad tackle that sparked the reaction. It came just four days after he'd seen his friend and team-mate Tristan Nydam leave the field at Notts County with a broken ankle.
None of that excuses the response. Shove, square-up and strongly show your disgust by all means. You don't use your head as a weapon though, no matter the provocation.
All the best players have a real competitive edge. Many take some time learning how to make it a strength rather than a weakness - Wayne Rooney a fine case in point.
We don't want Ipswich Town to be a soft touch - perhaps something that could have been levelled at them in the past. We all want to see players fighting for each other and the badge. Indeed, that is something manager Paul Lambert encourages.
There is a limit though.
Downes was sent-off a fair amount as a youth teamer. He's trod a fine line at times in the first team too, flashpoints at Norwich and Accrington Stanley springing to mind.
We're not talking about tackles here, rather reactions. Those are the unnecessary bookings and red cards that, at best, blunts the tenacity in his game or, at worst, leave his team-mates facing an uphill battle.
At this point it's only fair to point out, for perspective, that he's received just 13 bookings and zero red cards in 53 senior appearances.
I hope a player who has admitted to anxiety and over-thinking during his fledgling career doesn't beat himself up too much about this. He's a player with huge potential, as today's impressive display showed.
Take whatever punishment comes your way Flynn, learn from this and move on.