McGuinness in and Ndaba out – Lambert explains the thinking
PUBLISHED: 10:19 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 17:17 25 September 2020
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has explained the thinking behind bringing in Mark McGuinness on loan from Arsenal and subsequently making the club’s own young centre-back Corrie Ndaba available for a temporary spell away.
McGuinness, 19, has joined the Blues on a season-long loan after impressing against Town in an EFL Trophy match at Portman Road earlier this month. It will be the Republic of Ireland U19 international’s first taste of senior football.
Ndaba, 20, who has been in Republic of Ireland U21 squad, caught the eye for the Blues during pre-season and made his senior debut for the club as a sub in the season-opener against Bristol Rovers before starting the cup game against Arsenal’s U21s.
Asked if McGuiness’ arrival meant Ndaba would be going on loan, Lambert said: “Yes. I think he’s done great Corrie, I really do, but he’s bypassed Under-23s football now, I think he needs to get out there ow and play men’s football. That will bring him on. Hopefully we can get him a club that fits him and vice versa.”
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Does that mean he just sees McGuinness as more advanced than Ndaba at this stage?
“There’s an incredible difference between Corrie from last season and this year,” replied the Blues boss.
“He was totally drifting last season, I didn’t think he was focused on what he wanted to do. This year he’s a different kid since he’s come back.
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“He’s been focused, played really well, he did well when he came on against Bristol Rovers then did well against Arsenal before he got the bad dead leg.
“But I just thought that game cemented what we actually thought about Mark being really good.
“I just think, at the minute, Mark is slightly ahead just by the presence of him, the size of him.
“Corrie has to go and play men’s football. Just as Arsenal needed Mark to come here, we need Corrie to go and play men’s football as well.”
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On McGuinness, who will compete with Luke Woolfenden, Toto Nsiala and James Wilson for a starting spot (Luke Chambers currently required at right-back in the absence of the injured Kane Vincent-Young), Lambert said: “It’s there for everybody to see how good he could be. He’s got everything going for him. You can tell he’s going to be a good one, that’s for sure.
“A couple of weeks before that (Trophy) game he came onto our radar. We had a chance to watch him up close and he was outstanding. For somebody so young, the leadership he had was very, very impressive.”
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Quizzed as to whether the loan deal included terms regarding a minimum number of games that McGuinness must play, Lambert said: “No, Arsenal have been good. There’s nothing as such like that.
“There’s no real such thing as a bad loan. When you go away you learn and you grow up quicker. It takes you out of your comfort zone and away from your home comforts, especially if you’re at a Premier League club.
“I’m really impressed with the way he’s come over and handled himself. He’s definitely a good player.”
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Could McGuinness, who joked he’d play up front or in goal if asked, play at right-back if required?
“Maybe,” said Lambert. “Predominantly he’s a centre-half, but looking at how good he is on the ball he could adapt to a lot of roles.”
Ndaba won’t be the only player to leave Ipswich on loan over the coming weeks. Lambert, who has already loaned Idris El Mizouni to League Two side Cambridge United, is also keen for the likes of Armando Dobra and Brett McGavin to go and get games.
On El Mizouni rejoining the U’s, Lambert said: “He’s a young kid and it’s small steps. I’ll be happy for him to get games. I’m pretty sure he’ll have to earn the right to get in Cambridge’s side.
“As I said before, there’s not really such a thing as a bad loan.”