Mick McCarthy hails ‘big star’ Grant Ward and ‘water carrier’ Cole Skuse
PUBLISHED: 15:47 20 April 2017 | UPDATED: 15:48 20 April 2017
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy has hailed Grant Ward as one of the team’s biggest stars this season.
A £600k signing from Tottenham Hotspur last summer, the 22-year-old memorably scored a hat-trick on his debut after coming on as a half-time substitute in the 4-2 opening day home win over Barnsley.
He’s made 36 starts and a further seven substitute appearances since then, scoring three more times and playing in a variety of positions – from winger, to wing-back, central midfield and, most recently, as a No.10.
“He’s been a really big star for us, I think, not just in the last few games but over the season,” said McCarthy.
“He’s played in a number of positions, but playing in behind Didzy (Dabid McGoldrick) has really suited him.
“I remember Sparky (Mark Kennedy, former Under-23 boss) watched him for Spurs when he played as number 10 and reporting back about how well he played.
“He’s quite versatile and I think he’s really stepped up his game.”
Asked if he had found Ward’s best role in recent weeks, McCarthy replied: “It’s hard to deny that because of the energy that he’s got and the ability too. “It’s nice to be versatile though. When he plays wide he certainly helps the full-back in defensive situations, while he’s got that ability and pace to get by defenders and put crosses in.
“It’s nice to have that variation.”
He added: “I think Emyr (Huws) and Grant Ward would both appreciate the fact that Skusey (Cole Skuse) is sat there doing, as (Eric) Cantona called it, the ‘water carrier’ role. And I don’t know anybody who can do without water!
“They can get forwards knowing full well they have got security there.”