Ipswich manager Paul Lambert has assured playmaker Alan Judge that he could be included in the team regularly, but said that his spot will need to be earned.
East Anglian Daily Times reported that Lambert retains confidence in the 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international, even though he has been in and out of the team this season, and sat out the recent win over Fleetwood.
Lambert told East Anglian Daily Times: “As a footballer you can’t, in your right mind, expect to play unless you’re Messi or Ronaldo. If you go down that road you’re playing a dangerous game and you always have to be looking over your shoulder.
“Judgey’s done well every time I’ve asked him to play and I changed the game for Fleetwood because I thought it was going to be one of those type of games. There will be games when I say ‘Judge is in’ and that’s the case with everybody.”
Having been used on the left-hand side of midfield for most of the campaign, he was switched to a second striker role in the win at Gillingham last month and then played as an attacking midfielder against Tranmere the following week, demonstrating a versatility that should count in his favour when Lambert is selecting his starting line-up. [via TransferMarkt]
Although he has yet to score this season, Judge remains an important attacking outlet for the Tractor Boys, with two assists to his name, while his match average of 1.6 key passes is eclipsed only by Andre Dozzell (1.7) in the Ipswich squad, and only two players have taken more shots per game than the Irishman’s 1.8, as per WhoScored.
Judge’s average of 1.2 crosses per game is inferior only to Dozzell and Luke Garbutt, while his passing success rate of 80.4% is the joint-fourth best in Lambert’s squad, even if there is scope for improvement in that regard. [via WhoScored]
He was included in Mick McCarthy’s Ireland squad for their recent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Georgia and Switzerland but was surprisingly left on the bench for both even though the Irish carried scant attacking threat, having recorded just seven shots in Tbilisi and five in Geneva.
Looking at the attacking impetus that Judge has provided whenever he has played this season, it would be understandable if he felt aggrieved at not being an automatic starter in Lambert’s line-up.
A trip to 20th-placed Accrington, against whom league leaders Ipswich may well have the bulk of chances, should offer an ideal opportunity for the Irishman to come back into the team and provide the ammunition for the front men on Sunday.
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