We all know Luke Chambers isn’t a right-back, admits Ipswich Town boss Mick Mccarthy
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Luke Chambers has been ‘top drawer’ at right-back, according to Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy.
The Blues skipper is the latest in a long line of players that have been asked to do a job in that position in recent years, following in the footsteps of Carlos Edwards, Tom Eastman and Jaime Peters
In fact, you probably have to go as far back as David Wright, in 2009/10, for the last time Town had a natural right-back playing consistently week-in, week-out.
“He’s been top drawer there at right-back,” said McCarthy, when asked about Chambers. “He’s a centre-half, we all know that, and he’d prefer to be playing at centre-half.
“That’s something I love about him, that he actually plays there and does it selflessly. The times he’s had it tough against a flying winger, and it’s not been his day, he never complains about it. He just gets on with it and plays.
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“He’s a really good leader on and off the pitch. Doing the things he does is the sign of a great leader because he does things selflessly and without fuss for the team. I do think he’s playing well at the minute.”
Chambers formed a rock-solid central defensive partnership with Tommy Smith when McCarthy first took over at Portman Road in November 2012, the Blues beating the drop largely thanks to their fine defensive record.
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The summer addition of McCarthy’s former Wolves favourite Christophe Berra changed the dynamic though and it wasn’t long before Chambers was moved to right-back in order to accommodate the Scotsman.
In the last two-and-half seasons the former Nottingham Forest man has played 98 games at right-back and 28 at centre-back.
Young prospects such as Elliott Hewitt and Freddie Veseli have come and gone, Jonathan Parr wasn’t deemed to have done enough to nail down the right-back slot, while academy graduate Josh Emmanuel has been sent out on loan.
There is no doubting that Chambers has improved massively as a right-back and that, going forwards, he has made big progress this season.
With Ipswich having conceded some sloppy goals throughout 2015, the debate over the balance and make-up of Town’s back four never lies dormant for long.
McCarthy remains adamant, however, that Chambers, Tommy Smith, Berra and Jonas Knudsen are his best mix.
“I have asked both Luke and Jonas to get forward more,” said McCarthy. “They’ve certainly got the legs and the fitness and the ability to do it. Rather than being hesitant in doing it, I’ve told them to do it with that gay abandon. I’ve never stopped Luke from doing that, maybe I’ve just encouraged him to do it a bit more recently.”