Why Andre Dozzell deserved to win hotly contested Player of the Month award
Andre Dozzell has been named Ipswich Town’s official Player of the Month for September. Blues reporter STUART WATSON looks at why the 21-year-old is a fitting winner.
At times in the past, it’s probably been a struggle to come up with four names for the Ipswich Town Player of the Month vote. This time, the talk was about who was left out.
In the end, pass master Andre Dozzell (34%) just pipped the twinkletoed two-goal Teddy Bishop (33%) to the win, with two-goal midfield maestro Jon Nolan (24%) and the re-born Toto Nsiala (9%) coming third and fourth respectively (3,477 votes cast on the Ipswich Town Twitter poll).
Veteran full-backs Stephen Ward and Luke Chambers can feel hard done by not to make the cut following very solid showings. The same can be said for dependable centre-back James Wilson and livewire two-goal winger Gwion Edwards. Front man Aaron Drinan, a left field success story, would have been a strong candidate had injury not struck.
All of the above have made huge contributions to what has been a very encouraging start. The number of POTM candidates is proof that a settled system and selection is reaping benefits.
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But if you pushed me to nail my colours to the mast I think Dozzell is the fitting recipient.
His role at the base of a three-man midfield has been pivotal. Him continually showing for the ball in tight areas and playing an array of positive passes with that laser-precision left foot is what makes this team tick. He controls the tempo. He’s the quarter-back executing the plays worked on repetitively in training.
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We all knew the 21-year-old was a talent. Criticism that he didn’t ‘take his chance’ over recent years always felt harsh given he was never given a run in the team and often played out of position. His longest run in the side was just three games back in April 2019. Beyond that it was just the odd game or two every few months.
Now Ipswich play to his strengths. Now his confidence is growing. You can see he’s adding some physicality and bite to his game too.
When teams have tried to man-mark him, he’s come up with an answer. When teams have tired, he’s come on strong. Look at the give and go surge which led to him crossing from the left corner flag for Oli Hawkins’ great headed chance at Bristol Rovers in the final stages.
The fact he has started every game and only been subbed in one (withdrawn in the Fulham cup loss to keep him fresh for the bigger game ahead) speaks volumes.
If Dozzell plays well, then Town play well. That’s how it feels.
Long may that continue. And long may the debate over personal accolades be like this.