Bluebird reflections on Ipswich defeat

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Now that a little time has passed since the defeat against Ipswich, maybe a little reflective thoughts on young Adam Matthews' unfortunate own goal would not be out of place.

Reactions in the press and elsewhere during the past week to Dave Jones' post match comments about the own goal seem to divide into two distinct camps.

There are those who agreed with Jones comments that reflect the view that basically it is a tough world out there, that pro football is a sink or swim environment, that little room for sentiment exists and so young players must be willing to take things on the chin, learn from any mistakes and move on.

The other camp takes the view that it was a generally below par performance by the team and that Jones had unfairly singled out Matthews for criticism.

My own view, for what it is worth is that there are elements of truth in the sentiments of both camps.

Yes it is indeed a tough world - even at Championship level players are thrust into the full glare of the media spotlight and therefore become "public property" for comments, criticisms, and praise, and so must quickly have to try to learn to adapt.

However, for a relatively inexperienced teenager to have such adverse comments made publicly about him by his manager is never going to be easy to take. And in any, case scoring an own goal at any time is always hard for the player concerned.

In that respect, all managers need to be very careful when they make public comments about their charges. Inevitably you'd have to consider, particularly when choosing to put young players on to the pitch, whether the youngsters are sufficiently prepared for that level of scrutiny.

Jones must have thought about this before his comments, which in some ways reflects positively on Matthews.

Adam Matthews is without doubt a young player with lots of footballing potential - it was not that long ago that there was talk of Premier League interest in him.

Also, many observers are not at all convinced that playing him as a defender is really his position (interestingly on Cardiff City's own website he is listed as a midfield player).

So, on balance, I would take the view that if Adam can ride this particular storm it will undoubtedly help him to develop and mature both as an individual and as a player.

Adversity often results in the strengthening of a team, and though the last couple of games have seen a bit of a dip in the level of team's performances, I'm hopeful this will help to strengthen their resolve to put things right in future games.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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