'He's a huge talent' – Lambert says Lankester could start the odd game
PUBLISHED: 17:01 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:42 09 November 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has not ruled out starting teenage forward Jack Lankester in the near future after hailing the academy graduate a ‘huge talent’.
Lankester hails from Bury St Edmunds, has been with the Blues since the age of seven and signed his first professional contract back in August.
The 18-year-old recently made his first team debut, a bright substitute display against QPR under Paul Hurst’s management, and then stepped off the bench at Millwall under caretaker boss Bryan Klug.
New boss Lambert named him on the bench for last weekend’s 1-1 home draw against Preston ahead of Grant Ward.
And he was left impressed by the youngster’s display when watching the club’s table-topping Under-23s draw 2-2 with Cardiff at Portman Road on Monday afternoon.
“Good player, very good,” Lambert said, when asked about the forward, who spent time on loan with Bury Town in the Bostik League North Division last season.
“He’s a good talent, a huge talent; a terrific left foot. He’s not a baby but you have to give them time as well.
“He might make impacts here and there. He might start the odd game or so or might come off the bench. It’s a big, big ask to throw somebody in, but Jack is a big, big talent.”
Town are currently five points adrift at the foot of the Championship table heading into tomorrow’s game at fellow-strugglers Reading.
Asked if he was able to devote much time to the academy given the first team’s current predicament, Lambert – who has signed a contract until 2021 – said: “You can if you want to build something.
“I watched the Under-15s last night and they were really good, the really young ones.
“You’ve got to see what’s there and what’s happening at the football club. I think that’s important.
“The kids need a manager where, when they do get older, they’re know going to get a chance.
“I don’t think you can be ignorant to it and turning a blind eye to the Under-18s and Under-23s. Somebody might just pop out at you where you think ‘he’s good enough’.
“If I think you’re good enough it doesn’t faze me to throw you in.”