'We're not just a stepping stone for somebody else' - Lambert on need for Town to keep young stars
PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 January 2019
Paul Lambert has insisted Ipswich Town must do all they can to keep hold of their young talent and that the club must not simply be a stepping stone to bigger and better things.
The Blues locked Jack Lankester down to a new, improved deal earlier this week, following the 18-year-old’s impressive surge into the first team during the course of the season.
Lankester follows Harry Wright and Ben Morris in signing new deals in recent weeks, with Lambert hopeful of securing the futures of other young players in the near future.
“I don’t think this football club can let young talented players just leave the club,” Lambert said.
“Jack is a big, big talent who has played more than he probably thought he would and he did very well against Millwall.
“I’m delighted he’s tied in and hopefully a few more will follow.”
Teenage midfielder Andre Dozzell was linked with Premier League trio Crystal Palace, Brighton and Bournemouth earlier this week, with Lambert again insisting the Blues must make the most of the young talent at their disposal.
“He’s not started games but he’s a kid, learning his trade,” Lambert said.
“If someone wants to give you £15m or £20m then that’s different but we won’t let players leave easily, that’s for sure.
“We’re not just a stepping stone for somebody else. The way the modern market is you can’t put a price on anybody.
“Dozzell’s got a good chance to be a very good footballer but the lad did have bad injuries. But he’s got a chance.”
Lambert has taken a first look at defender Luke Woolfenden this week, with the 20-year-old back training at Playford Road.
He will remain on loan at Swindon Town for now, although Lambert admitted he could still opt to recall the defender before the end of the month.
“Luke’s going back to Swindon but I also have the option to bring him back before the end of the window if I feel I need him.
“In time I think he will be a very good player. He has the stature to be a very good defender but he’s still a kid in football terms.”