‘He’s a huge talent’ – Lambert says Lankester could start the odd game

PUBLISHED: 17:01 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:42 09 November 2018

Jack Lankester's first three games for Ipswich Town are set to come under three different managers. Photo: Steve Waller

Jack Lankester's first three games for Ipswich Town are set to come under three different managers. Photo: Steve Waller

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has not ruled out starting teenage forward Jack Lankester in the near future after hailing the academy graduate a ‘huge talent’.

Homegrown forward Jack Lankester featured in a pre-season friendly against West Ham. Photo: Steve WallerHomegrown forward Jack Lankester featured in a pre-season friendly against West Ham. Photo: Steve Waller

Lankester hails from Bury St Edmunds, has been with the Blues since the age of seven and signed his first professional contract back in August.

The 18-year-old recently made his first team debut, a bright substitute display against QPR under Paul Hurst’s management, and then stepped off the bench at Millwall under caretaker boss Bryan Klug.

MORE: ‘Great legends of the club should never be dismissed’ – Lambert on meeting with Burley, Butcher and Wark

New boss Lambert named him on the bench for last weekend’s 1-1 home draw against Preston ahead of Grant Ward.

And he was left impressed by the youngster’s display when watching the club’s table-topping Under-23s draw 2-2 with Cardiff at Portman Road on Monday afternoon.

MORE: ‘It’s a little bit unbalanced... a number of positions need to be rectified’ - Lambert on Town squad

“Good player, very good,” Lambert said, when asked about the forward, who spent time on loan with Bury Town in the Bostik League North Division last season.

“He’s a good talent, a huge talent; a terrific left foot. He’s not a baby but you have to give them time as well.

Jack Lankester replaces Gwion Edwards to make his Ipswich Town senior debut against QPR. Photo: Steve WallerJack Lankester replaces Gwion Edwards to make his Ipswich Town senior debut against QPR. Photo: Steve Waller

MORE: Lambert hopeful of Harrison return while Nolan remains sidelined... as boss insists Ward’s time will come

“He might make impacts here and there. He might start the odd game or so or might come off the bench. It’s a big, big ask to throw somebody in, but Jack is a big, big talent.”

Town are currently five points adrift at the foot of the Championship table heading into tomorrow’s game at fellow-strugglers Reading.

MORE: Reading could be without their two leading goalscorers for Ipswich visit

Asked if he was able to devote much time to the academy given the first team’s current predicament, Lambert – who has signed a contract until 2021 – said: “You can if you want to build something.

“I watched the Under-15s last night and they were really good, the really young ones.

MORE: Assessing Lambert’s Ipswich Town squad and where he might need help in January

“You’ve got to see what’s there and what’s happening at the football club. I think that’s important.

Jack Lankester also stepped off the bench in the 3-0 defeat at Millwall. Photo: PagepixJack Lankester also stepped off the bench in the 3-0 defeat at Millwall. Photo: Pagepix

“The kids need a manager where, when they do get older, they’re know going to get a chance.

MORE: How living with captain Chambers has helped Lankester reach the Ipswich Town first-team

“I don’t think you can be ignorant to it and turning a blind eye to the Under-18s and Under-23s. Somebody might just pop out at you where you think ‘he’s good enough’.

“If I think you’re good enough it doesn’t faze me to throw you in.”

Jack Lankester shakes hands with West Ham midfielder Mark Noble back in August. Photo: Ross HallsJack Lankester shakes hands with West Ham midfielder Mark Noble back in August. Photo: Ross Halls

Jack Lankester impressed Paul Lambert with his performance for the club's Under-23s on Monday. Photo: Ross HallsJack Lankester impressed Paul Lambert with his performance for the club's Under-23s on Monday. Photo: Ross Halls

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