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Flynn Downes 2019/20 – scout report

SOURCE: Photo, Oxymoron, CC BY-SA 2.0

Flynn Downes has been part of the Ipswich Town furniture since the 2017/18 campaign, when he featured as a raw 18-year-old under the tutelage of former boss Mick McCarthy. Since then, his all-action displays have endeared him to the Blues faithful and the 2019/20 season saw him become the heartbeat of the Ipswich midfield geared to push for an immediate return to the Championship from League One.

Although the Tractor Boys failed miserably in that quest, Downes was one of the rare shining lights from a disappointing promotion bid. Surprisingly, he remains at Portman Road for 2020/21. The Suffolk side are rated 12/1 shots to win League One this time around by SkyBet, who are one of many bookies to be dishing out free bets to new punters ahead of the new campaign. Let’s take a dive into the performances of Flynn Downes last term and understand why he is considered one of the hottest midfield prospects outside of the top two divisions.

Positives

  • Fantastic engine
    In the rough and tumble of League One, it’s important to have central midfielders with durability and the ability to get up and down for the full 90 minutes. Last season, Downes played 2,696 minutes in league and cup, playing the entirety of all but six competitive games. Despite being a rugged competitor, he demonstrated the stamina needed to drive the Blues forward.
  • Draws more fouls than he gives away
    Over the course of the League One campaign, Downes earnt 65 fouls from his counterparts, compared to the 62 fouls he gave away. The figures suggest that not only is Downes a great competitor, he’s a savvy one at that, capable of imposing himself on games without falling foul of referees.
  • Brave, physical presence
    Although Downes stands at just 5ft 8” in height, his on-field stature is significantly greater than that. His tenacity and will-to-win gives him genuine presence in the middle of the park. As a boyhood West Ham fan, some could argue that Downes’ style of play is similar to that of West Ham skipper Mark Noble.

Potential flaws

  • Lack of goal threat
    The major blot of the Flynn Downes copybook is his lack of goals. As a box-to-box midfielder, Downes managed just two goals in 2019/20. In fact, he’s only mustered three goals in his senior career thus far. For him to attract top-end Championship and even top-flight attention, he will need to make an impact in both boxes.
  • Hot-headed nature
    While his aggression and tenacity is a big part of Downes’ game, it’s all too easy for that to boil over at present. Downes racked up a dozen yellow cards in all competitions last term. Although he was never given a sending off, those bookings will have forced him to curb his natural game in key matches, to the detriment of the Ipswich team.

Summary

Flynn Downes is a highly regarded midfielder and it’s easy to see why. You don’t rack up U19 and U20 appearances at England level without an excellent football upbringing. As Ipswich’s youngest ever captain back in December 2019, Downes needs to continue to add a maturity to his game, ironing out some of the needless bookings and focus on being more of a menace in and around the opposition box.