Ipswich boss backs Downes to thrive during Luton loan spell

New Luton signing Flynn Downes
New Luton signing Flynn Downes

Ipswich Town boss Mick McCarthy believes that midfielder Flynn Downes will become a better player for his loan move to the Hatters.

The 19-year-old, who has made 12 appearances for the Tractor Boys this season, signed a deal until the end of the season on transfer deadline day, to add competition to Glen Rea and Alan McCormack for the holding role position.

McCarthy, who gave Downes his Town debut against Birmingham City in the Championship back in August, told the East Anglian Daily Times: "It’s a good signing for both of us – for Luton Town and for Ipswich.

“He’s going to a club with Nathan Jones, who I have always been impressed with, they play in a diamond.

“I said to him after we played them (in the Carabao Cup), that they would get promoted and it looks like that now.

“He’s going to a team that is doing very well and playing at the base of the diamond will suit him fine. It’s not the Championship but he’s more than capable of playing there.

“If he gets 10 or 12 games between now and the end of the season it will be a great experience and he will come back to us next year a better player for it.”

A number of Ipswich fans have expressed their frustration that the academy graduate isn’t a regular starter at Portman Road, something McCarthy understands.

He continued: “Fans being disappointed, and if there’s any criticism levelled, let’s clear things up, I’m disappointed (too).

“I would love him to be in my team but he got in it and he got injured – he got in the England set-up and then he got injured.

"His injury probably came from overuse, stress, an overworked injury having trained with us every day.

“He’s had to take a step back but he’s not going to dislodge Skusey (Cole Skuse), Gleas (Stephen Gleeson) and Callum (Connolly), so he might as well go and play somewhere else in a team who could get promoted.

“It’s for his own good, his development, which is something I consider for all the players as well.

“It’s not just about me. If he was the best midfield player and he was fit he would still be here, but he’s not so he might as well develop and come back next year a better player.”

Meanwhile, Luton chief Nathan Jones, admitted that the quality of Downes, who has won three caps at England U19 level and played against Luton in the Carabao Cup earlier this season, meant he was prepared to take him on a short-term basis.

He added: “This one goes against the grain a little bit, because it’s a loan, we don’t usually do loans, so it’s a big complement to him..

"At this moment in time, the standard of player that Flynn is, he’s a Championship player, he’s proved that.

"He did very well against us, we were very aware of him in pre-season, because a friend of mine looks after him.

"But then he played against us in the Carabao Cup, he’s played 10 games for Ipswich already, he’s a young layer and one that fits into our mold here.

"Even though he’s only on loan, he’s one that I’m excited about as we’ve got a lot of good players here, but to keep improving the squad was a big thing and we’ve done that I think significantly once again.

“I know it will be ‘why did they get him?’ But if he plays and plays a good number of games here, he’ll go back to Ipswich in a real good place.

"Because ultimately he’s going to be an Ipswich player, he’s going to play regularly for Ipswich because they think so much of him there.

"I know Mick rates him very, very highly and we just thank Mick for trusting us with him.”