Ipswich Town 2020/21 Player of the Year nominees
It has been a desperately poor season at Portman Road, with Ipswich Town again finishing in the middle of the table in English football’s third tier.
There were highs on the pitch, but they were largely overshadowed by the lows, as most of the excitement came off the pitch as Town headed into a new era this summer under US ownership.
But there has yet to be a Player of the Year, with the Ipswich Town Supporters Club poll now closed and the winner expected to be announced in the coming days.
Here, Andy Warren takes a look at the nominees for the award and picks his own winner.
Andre Dozzell – 45 games, no goals
This is the year André Dozzell’s career resumed after a frustrating period in recent seasons.
Injuries brought him down in the summer of 2017 and effectively robbed him of two seasons, as he was ready for his big break, despite never really holding a spot on the team in the first one. attempt of the Blues in League One during the last. countryside.
It’s been a different story this season, however, with the youngster making 45 appearances in all competitions and effectively nailing his place in the middle of midfield.
His range of passing was clear to everyone and he saw plenty of the ball as he was trusted to be the starting point for almost all of Ipswich’s attacks under former boss Paul Lambert.
He’s been far from perfect, struggling at times against more physical midfielders and sometimes lacking in intensity, and he still has a lot to prove but seeing him play so much football has been great.
James Norwood – 28 games, nine goals
Town’s top scorer has had another injury season but still leads Town’s goalscoring table.
The hamstrings limited him to just 28 appearances, with his 1,496 league minutes totaling less than 17 full games. He also managed eight of his nine goals during this span.
Things could have been very different for Town if Norwood, by far the Blues’ most dangerous forward, had been in good form all season.
He is expected to play a key role next season, with Paul Cook entrusting him with the armband in the last two games.
Toto Nsiala – 30 games, no goals
He looked everyone up as Toto Nsiala’s career at Ipswich Town was over when he was loaned out to Bolton in January 2020.
But he came back this summer, made his own a start and, in general, managed to remove major individual mistakes that had previously damaged him and his team.
He’s out of the squad at the moment, initially due to injury, but has had some compelling games in the thick of defense.
James Wilson – 18 games, two goals
The Welshman has only made 18 appearances all season but, given his side’s poor season, needs to be in the conversation.
He’s discreet but efficient, always in control of what he’s doing and executes his game smoothly from the back.
Wilson also scored a few opportune goals, with an injury keeping him on the sidelines and injuring both his season and that of his team.
Nsiala and Wilson’s partnership are averaging 1.76 points per game in their 17 league matches in the heart of defense. Extrapolate that over the 45 games played so far and Town would be third, guaranteed a place in the play-offs.
This might be an overly simplistic way of looking at it, but it just highlights how well they played as a pair.
Alan Judge – 38 games, four goals
If this award was for Town’s best player in 2021, Judge might just get my vote.
The Irishman has already left Portman Road, of course, but had been a rare bright spot in the early months of the New Year, during which his four goals came.
He showed creativity and commitment during an extremely difficult time in his life, during which he lost his mother to cancer and also faced the fallout from a high-profile incident involving referee Darren Drysdale.
It’s a shame his career at Ipswich ended the way it did, with a contract clause meaning the Blues didn’t want him to start another game, given that it would trigger another season.
There are other players worth noting here, having produced some good spells during a tough campaign.
Teddy Bishop and Gwion Edwards both had goal streaks early on, when things were good for Town, but neither have scored since October.
Only Dozzell has made more league starts than captain Luke Chambers, who looked superb at right-back at the start and was pretty solid in the heart of defense, before retiring to the side in recent times, while Tomas Holy is the only other player not to be. widely mentioned for making over 30 league appearances.
A total of 34 players have made league appearances for Town this season.
Obviously, this is not a vintage for Town and it has led to suggestions that no Player of the Year should be crowned due to the squad’s shortcomings.
But we certainly can’t give up awards like this when the going gets tough – there are players who have emerged from the wreckage and performed well on a mediocre squad.
Andre Dozzell gets my bronze medal. It was great to see him enjoy his football again, but there is still, hopefully, a lot more to come from him. Hopefully Paul Cook is the man to take it further.
But for the winner, I think you have to watch the defense, given how well Ipswich has been in front of goal this season, which means the conversation comes down to a choice between James Wilson and Toto Nsiala.
As a duo they were the strongest in Ipswich at the center half and you could definitely say the Blues would have been higher in the table if both had stayed fit or in the squad for longer.
Nsiala will overtake this one for me, given that he has played more games and made real progress from his position before the campaign.
Once again he’s been far from perfect, but he’s had some great games, especially in early 2021, directing every ball, creating vital blockages and crucially succeeding in minimizing the errors.
Wilson is just second but Toto Nsiala is my pick for the Ipswich Town Player of the Year.