Ipswich Town’s lack of a recognised right back is an insult to that position
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Northstander Terry Hunt asks: ‘When will Ipswich Town ever have a recognised right-back again?’
David Wright played his final game for Ipswich Town on April 24, 2010 in a highly creditable 2-2 draw against Newcastle United.
Why is that piece of Town minutiae worthy of a mention?
Because Wright’s appearance, seven and a half years ago, marks the last time our favourite football team fielded a proper, recognised right-back in the starting XI, discounting loanees.
Since then, we’ve had an assortment of out of position players doing their utmost to do the job.
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It’s not just a Mick McCarthy thing - first Roy Keane and then Paul Jewell also failed to sort it.
The first long-term holder of the position was Carlos Edwards.
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A fine player, no doubt, but his talent was attacking flair, rather than humdrum defending.
Then there was the admirable, but limited, Luke Chambers.
The skipper ploughed manfully up and down the right touchline in hundreds of games. He did a job, agreed, but with him at right-back our attacking options on that side were very limited.
The team looked distinctly lopsided.
Now, this season, we’ve had Jordan Spence and loanee Dominic Iorfa vying for the job.
Frankly, neither has impressed. Spence looked better when he was playing as an emergency centre-back. Iorfa has simply been very shaky.
Spence’s needless handball proved costly against Sheffield Wednesday, and Iorfa was at fault for both Villa goals on Saturday.
But are either of them really natural right-backs?
It doesn’t look like it. Which brings me to the big question: why hasn’t Mick McCarthy, of all people, found a proper right-back?
If ever there is a manager who understands the value of solid, dependable defenders, then it’s McCarthy.
He knows that the foundation of any team is the back four. So why, after more than five years of McCarthy, does it remain a problem position? It’s one of the great mysteries of life.
I’m a fully-paid up member of the Union of Right Backs, and I find this situation insulting to the least glamorous position on the pitch.
The view seems to be that anyone can do it.
That doesn’t apply elsewhere in the team. You wouldn’t stick your centre-half out on the left wing, would you?