Sone Aluko has been experiencing other sides of football as his playing career comes to an end, watching Ipswich Town games with the club’s analysts when he isn’t involved in the matchday squad.

The 34-year-old is still registered to play for the Blues, having last started in last month’s 2-1 defeat to Maidstone United in the FA Cup.

He’s only played two minutes in the Championship this season, however, and it remains to be seen what role he has to play in the final months of the campaign.

Regardless of that, he’s been able to work closely with manager Kieran McKenna and assistant Martyn Pert, which he described as a ‘top’ experience.

“Their work ethic is second to none,” he said. “Their openness to me to be able to ask them questions and learn from them.

“In terms of analysis, I watch most of the games I’m not playing with the analysis team at the top of the stadium.

“I’m picking up an incredible amount of football knowledge this late in my career. I can’t speak highly enough of what they’ve shown me.”

This role isn’t entirely new to Aluko, who’s had quite a lot of time on the bench in the last few months. He enjoys being able to analyse games from afar, but prefers doing it from a higher vantage point.

Ipswich Star: Aluko said that he has learned a lot from Kieran McKenna and Martyn PertAluko said that he has learned a lot from Kieran McKenna and Martyn Pert (Image: PA)

The perfect position is just in front of the press box at Portman Road, where the analysts watch the game and piece together a plan of action for the second half.

“It’s something I’ve naturally been doing before, but I prefer the view up there,” he revealed.

“At half time, if I go back into the dressing room, a lot of the players - especially the attacking players - will ask me how I’m viewing the game, what changes I think they could make, what adjustments they could make.

“For me, it made sense to go a bit higher and be a bit further away from the game. You can see it tactically a bit better.

“That was a change. The analysts said ‘you might as well come watch it with us’, and the manager started asking ‘what do you think? How do you see it?’.

“It just became a natural progression, really, it was something that just happened organically, I’d say.

“They analysts are doing their stuff. They’re on their iPads, their laptops. They’re coding the games, the set pieces, all that stuff.

“That’s really how it is. It’s not an official role they want me to do, it’s just how it’s organically happened.”

Ipswich Star: The 34-year-old has only played seven games this seasonThe 34-year-old has only played seven games this season (Image: Ross Halls)

Ipswich’s ability to come from behind is well documented. If their first-half performances are lacking, McKenna is good at making the right changes to change the game after the break.

Aluko provided an insight into what goes on in the changing room at half time, although he stressed that it changes from game to game depending on the situation.

“Like any coach, you’re going to make some adjustments,” he explained. “The other team will make some adjustments. 

“You’re going to see some things, if we attack a certain way or see a weak point, but sometimes you’ve just got to run harder, suffer for longer and the game will change. We’re a very fit team, so sometimes it’s about seeing out the phase.

“Half time is very different depending on what game it is, I wouldn’t say there’s a set formula.

"Usually he [McKenna] will watch through clips with his coaching staff, the lads will talk about what they’re seeing and how they can change things, then he’ll come in.

“Sometimes it’s the build-up, for instance. ‘Okay, we’ll change this and play out the left side’, or ‘the spare man is on the left side and there’s only two on the last line’. It could be anything.

Ipswich Star: Town's attackers have been coming to Aluko for advice at half timeTown's attackers have been coming to Aluko for advice at half time (Image: Pagepix)

“It really depends on how the other team are playing, but usually it’s a tactical change, and it’s motivation to say ‘come on, let’s go for it again, let’s go for it.’

“Most of them work through it from Monday to Friday, so a lot of the time, the boys know what they need to do.”

One thing that you don’t expect from McKenna is a lot of shouting in the dressing room, also known as ‘the hairdryer treatment’.

The Northern Irishman is a composed figure on the touchline, and Aluko claimed that it translates into the half-time break too, which he believes suits the players at the club.

“After you’ve shouted, the lads ask what they need to do,” he argued. “It’s always been that case, even back in the day when there were hairdryers, you’re going to have to have some information afterwards.

“His personality type is just to get down to that bit nice and quickly. He’s very calm and measured at all times, so he doesn’t feel like there’s as much need for that, and we’ve not really got a squad needs that either.

“We’re quite a highly-motivated squad, so at no point do you feel like we’re not running hard enough, we’re not trying to tackle. It’s a squad that, with or without a manager, come and watch a training session and you’d think ‘these guys must not like each other’.

Ipswich Star: Aluko isn't sure what he wants to do after he retires from playingAluko isn't sure what he wants to do after he retires from playing (Image: PA)

“We’ll tackle, we’ll run hard, we’re very competitive. That side he’s not had to push, once or twice since he’s been here, maybe.”

As for the future, Aluko isn’t certain what lies ahead.

“It’s something I’ve thought about, but I’ve not made a decision yet,” he admitted. “When that time comes, I’ll be more set to make a firm decision, but I’m looking at different options still. I’ll keep that for another day.”