Young Ipswich Town squad needs time to grow, says Christophe Berra
Ipswich Town defender Christophe Berra is ready to use his experience to guide Mick McCarthy’s babes through a transitional season.
The average age of the Blues’ 22-man first team squad dropped to 25 yesterday with the addition of 18-year-old winger Jordan Graham on loan from Aston Villa.
Take into account the group of 11 teenagers on the fringes – including the likes of Jack Marriott, Kyle Hammond, Jordan Adekunle and Jack Doherty – and the average age of a wider 33-man squad is just under 23.
Berra (28) is one of just eight players aged over 25 at the club and one of only five with significant Premier League experience to their name.
And while the Scottish international has not given up on a Championship promotion push this campaign, he does believe this young squad – currently 12th in the table heading into tomorrow’s game at Charlton – will get better over time.
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“We’ve played the top three teams in the division (QPR, Burnley and Leicester) and lost by a single goal each time,” said the softly-spoken centre-back.
“All those games have been close and could have gone either way, but that’s why the teams at the top are at the top – when their chances come they take them.
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“You have to remember that Leicester have been together for three, four years and have that cohesion.
“We’re a newer, younger squad and we’re still gelling.
“Hopefully in time we can gel together like them and be a force to be reckoned with.”
He continued; “As you play throughout the years you gain experience. I’m not one of these vocal types that are screaming all game, I just try and set an example with the things I do.
“Generally players know when they’ve made a mistake and you have to let people take responsibility for themselves, but there are times in games where you have to say things and give someone a kick up the backside.
“The fact that some people are disappointed with where we are in the table at present shows the progress the club has been made under the manager over the last year. Now the fans have got raised expectations and it’s down to us as players to make sure those expectations are fulfilled.
“We’re only six points off the play-off places at the moment. A week on Saturday we could be two points off that or even in there. I am sure there will be a lot of teams involved right up until the last few weeks.”