'The Beat' full of praise for Tommy

BLUES legend Kevin Beattie lavished praise on Tommy Smith after the 18-year-old made his Ipswich Town debut.

Derek Davis

BLUES legend Kevin Beattie lavished praise on Tommy Smith after the 18-year-old made his Ipswich Town debut.

Beattie, who also made his debut at 18 on the opening day of the season when Town beat Manchester United 2-1, in August 1972, was so impressed he picked out Smith as Town's best player.

Beattie said; “Tommy was excellent I made him my man of the match.

“He looks comfortable on ball, is good in the air and he can only get better. At just 18 he looks a great prospect.”

Smith was one of five players making their Town debuts and Beattie has no doubts he is ready for this level and doesn't need to go elsewhere for more loan experience.

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Beattie said: “Tommy is ready for the Championship. He has Gareth McAuley alongside him to help and even though they got beat Tommy could not have asked for a better debut.”

Of course the England youngster, who was spotted playing in New Zealand after his family from Macclesfield moved out there for work, can improve but Beattie is confident he has all the attributes.

He said: “He is not quite 'The Beat', yet but he is quicker than the old Tommy Smith.

“He needs to work on his awareness as he was caught out a little at times but that will come

“His confidence will grow and he might look for better passes out of defence but he showed some good things.

“He had a shot and went on a little run as the age wore on and he felt more confident.”

Beattie also believes Smith could do with better support from the full back position, just as he did when he had the England captain playing alongside him.

He said: “Tommy would probably benefit from have a genuine left back next to him.

“Mick Mills helped me and I had Colin Harper as well so I knew if I went forward they would tuck in behind and back me up.”

Beattie was working as a summariser for Radio Suffolk for the Preston match after appearing on the Rob Chandler's Rock'n'Goals show, while another former favourite in Alex Mathie will be the pundit for their full match commentary at Burnley on Saturday.

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