In our weekly Scout feature, Daniel Roberts takes a detailed look at a new emerging talent from world football. Today we profile Ipswich Town’s midfielder Teddy Bishop.
Born in Cambridge, Bishop joined Ipswich at the age of eight and has rose through the year groups to become a key player at Portman Road.
Recovering from a serious back injury in the first year of his academy scholarship, Bishop would go on to make his first-team debut for the club in a League Cup tie against Crawley Town in 2014, coming on as a substitute in the 77th minute to play the remainder of the 90 and extra time. A few weeks later, he would make his league bow for the club, playing 66 minutes of his side’s draw against Derby County.
After his impressive debut at the end of August, Bishop would go from strength to strength for Ipswich and would end the league campaign with 35 appearances, starting 25 games. Although he only got to complete one game in all those run-outs, he certainly made an exciting impression on the fans, manager Mick McCarthy and Ipswich legends.
In fact, not only did he earn a new contract at Portman Road, keeping him at the club until 2018, Blues old boy Mick Mills compared Bishop to Ray Wilkins: “He’s like a quarterback. I remember playing with Ray and that is all he would do – never going beyond the ball but always supporting.”
McCarthy, however, underlined the need to look after the talent, stating: “The intensity that we play at is nothing like what he’s been used to in the U18s and U21s. He’s come into it and it’s sort of self-managing. It’s about looking after him and looking after us because we’ll get the best out of him.”
While the step up to the physical Championship is big, Bishop still performed extremely impressively in his first season as a first-team regular. The deep-lying midfielder ended the campaign with a credible 76% passing accuracy, completing 653 of his 854 attempts. With those passes, Bishop made 34 chances for his team-mates, finishing the season with five assists to his name.
Defensively, in all his appearances, he only made one mistake that led to an opposition attempt on goal. He ended the season with an average of two defensive actions per game, making five blocks, 20 clearances and 44 interceptions. However, as the youngster is still growing physically, it isn’t too surprising that heading duals were his weak point, losing out in 29 of his 36 attempts.
Comfortable to sit and spray balls around, at just 19, Bishop is already showing signs of becoming a fantastic footballer. His strengths are obviously in his passing, while his two-footed nature allows him to feed those in front of him from a deep position. On top of that, one of his most impressive traits is his ability to burst past opposition, gliding his way up the field, which compliments his game fantastically.
This season, Bishop had been expected to progress further and become a crucial part of McCarthy’s side, but injuries to his shin and hamstring have seen the youngster miss a year of football. This month saw him make his first appearance of the season, coming off the bench against Charlton to play 12 minutes.
Internationally, Bishop has yet to represent his country but did receive a call up to the under-19 squad for their European Championship qualifiers. Unfortunately, due to injury, he had to withdraw from the squad, but it is expected that, once he returns to full fitness, he will feature for the under-21 in the coming years.
What do the experts say?
Former Ipswich midfielder Paul Anderson: “There is no doubt he’s a great talent with lots of ability.”
Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy: “He is going to play in the Premier League, no doubt about that. Whatever happens, he will play there because he’s that good. This is no false dawn. I’m not looking through rose-tinted glasses. He can be top class.”
Ipswich legend Mick Mills: “He’s like a quarterback. He’s so young to be doing that sort of thing. I remember playing with Ray [Wilkins] and that is all he would do – never going beyond the ball but always supporting. Teddy has got this art of setting himself up behind where the play is and he’s doing it very well. If he continues to do it he will be a very useful player.”
Where does the future lie?
If Bishop can shake off the niggling injuries and add some mass to his body, the Premier League is certainly where the midfielder will be playing his football in the future.
Although he made significant strides last summer in bulking up, something that Bishop himself declared would help his game, another pre-season in the gym and another year of growing will certainly see the teenager reach the physical standard needed to truly become a force in the deep lying role.
The one question that remains unanswered on his impending future is whether he’ll become a Premier League player with Ipswich or with one of the big Premier League clubs who have been regularly scouting him during his developing years.
As speculation constantly links Bishop with moves to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool, if Ipswich fail to reach the play-offs, which looks highly likely, it could be likely he could finally make the step up.
While the move is possible, it might also be wise for the 19-year-old to stay at Portman Road for another campaign to rid himself of the injuries that have plagued him and get another season of first-team football under his belt.
Danny Roberts – @