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'The real trophy is getting kids into the first team' - Lambert and Taylor on progress of Under 23s

PUBLISHED: 16:30 29 April 2019

Kai Brown, Idris El Mizouni and Corrie Ndaba have signed professional deals with Ipswich Towm and are looking to make it in the first team. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Kai Brown, Idris El Mizouni and Corrie Ndaba have signed professional deals with Ipswich Towm and are looking to make it in the first team. Picture: ROSS HALLS

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Ipswich Town's Under 23s are looking to end their season on a high - but the real success will be whether the club's young players can make the grade in the first-team.

Ipswich Town's Under 23s are in play-off action against Birmingham tonight. Picture: ROSS HALLSIpswich Town's Under 23s are in play-off action against Birmingham tonight. Picture: ROSS HALLS

That's the view of both manager Paul Lambert and assistant Stuart Taylor, as the young Blues prepare for tomorrow night's play-off semi-final clash with Birmingham City at Portman Road.

The Under 23s have impressed this season, with a number of players pushing towards the first-team, but Lambert and Taylor have both stated that the real object of youth football is to help youngsters progress.

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“In all honesty the real success is about who comes through into the first team,” Taylor said.

Paul Lambert watches on as the Under 23s play Sheffield Wednesday. Picture: ROSS HALLSPaul Lambert watches on as the Under 23s play Sheffield Wednesday. Picture: ROSS HALLS

“Winning games in the 23s is nice but it's about getting to the first team.

“Idris (El Mizouni) is a massive success, Jack Lankester too, while Corrie Ndaba has been back training with us in the first team.

“That's how we gauge success. There has certainly been success at this football club.

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“It's great, it is nice, but if there's a choice between teams reaching finals or players making it into the first team, then I would rather have them coming through.”

Taylor was echoing comments made by boss Lambert recently who, when asked about the Under 23s' successes, said: “For me, it's not the most important thing, that's to get players into the first team.

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“Other managers might view that differently. I'm of the view that, OK, no problem, but the real trophy is getting kids into the first team.

“I don't want people to think the U23s or the U18s are holding their own, it's getting them into the first team where it really, really matters.

“If you asked Idris El Mizouni, for example, 'What would you rather do, win your respective league or do you want to break into the first team?'. I'll guarantee he'll say he wants to break into the first team.

“Forget that, it doesn't matter to me. You can ask me that for the remaining time I'm at the this club.

“It'll be nice for them, OK, no problem, but how many players can we get through to the first team? That's where I'll judge anybody, what kids we can get through into that first team.

“And if they move on from here for £20 or £30 million, then job done. Then you might get a pat on the back. But the first team is the most important thing.”

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