‘It’s easy to pick’ – Lambert on Downes selection dilemma

PUBLISHED: 10:45 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:16 25 September 2020

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert speaks with substitute Flynn Downes ahead of bringing him on against Fulham. Photo: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert speaks with substitute Flynn Downes ahead of bringing him on against Fulham. Photo: Steve Waller

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Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert admits Flynn Downes has given him a decision to make ahead of tomorrow’s League One visit of Rochdale.

Downes, who handed in a transfer request after Town turned down two bids for him from Crystal Palace, was left out of the squad for the opening three competitive games.

Clear the air talks subsequently saw him return to the fold and he produced a reminder of his quality with two impressive substitute performances against Fulham and Bristol Rovers last week.

Whether that’s enough for the 21-year-old to be put back in the starting XI this weekend remains to be seen given Jon Nolan, Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop have all started the campaign in good form.

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Flynn Downes made impressive cameo displays against Fulham and Bristol Rovers last week. Photo: PagepixFlynn Downes made impressive cameo displays against Fulham and Bristol Rovers last week. Photo: Pagepix

“The way he’s played in the last two games, I never expected anything different from Flynn,” said Lambert.

“Look, we’ve touched on it before with what was going on in his head and what was happening. Now, let’s just let that lad go and play football. That’s when he’s at his happiest and at his best.

“Flynn has given me a decision for tomorrow with the way he played.

“But he also knows the guys in front are playing unbelievably well – Bishop, Nolan, Dozzell... Even Emyr Huws, when he’s come on, has done well.”

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There’s a similar selection headache in defence. Luke Woolfenden is available again after missing the last three games with a groin injury, while Mark McGuinness has arrived on loan from Arsenal. Toto Nsiala and James Wilson have performed well at the heart of the back line over the last the games though.

“You can’t rest on what happened last season and what you’ve done before, it’s the here and now where you’ve got to perform,” said Lambert, when asked if the likes of Woolfenden and Downes have got a fight on their hands to get back in the side.

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“The team is playing really, really well, playing some exciting football and winning games. You have to fight to get in.

“I think the ones not playing at the minute recognise how well the guys are playing.”

However, when asked how difficult it was to pick his team this weekend, the Blues boss replied: “No, it’s easy to pick. There’s not a problem there, that’s for sure.”

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