Edward James Bishop (Teddy Bishop) is quickly becoming one of the hottest commodities in English football, with almost every news outlet claiming Manchester United and Arsenal are hot on the heels of the Ipswich youngster. It seems our beloved United and the Gunners are year after year going head to head for the top young British talent; it happened with Aaron Ramsey, Chris Smalling and even Gareth Bale when he decided to leave Southampton, so who is the man who seems to be the next name in this illustrious list.
Ipswich Town have built a promotion charge this season by rejuvenating out of form stars and investing game time in youth players, and Tyrone Mings and Teddy Bishop have been two of those youth players that have been attracting the most attention from Premier League titans, Bishop’s impressive displays running the offence have even seen him likened to an NFL Quarterback.
United are famed for a world-class Academy and being able to nurture young talent in to world beaters, every young player that hits a stride of form is linked with a move to the Theatre of Dreams and Teddy Bishop certainly has the upside potential to play a key role at a major club. Although we have a small sample size of just 17 games from Bishop, he has contributed five assists for the team and has already scored a senior goal, which came via a simple finish versus Championship leaders AFC Bournemouth. When a player has engrained himself as the clear beat in the heart of a teams attack at such a young age, premier league clubs will always come knocking.
His strengths clearly lie in his passing ability and ball distribution, his through balls and key passes, and his dribbling ability which places him in a similar category to many of United’s current stars. Such talents have seen pundits like former Ipswich player Mick Mills comparing him to a young Ray Wilkins, obviously a former United, Chelsea and England midfielder. Possibly Bishop’s most promising quality is his vision and how he has displayed a keen sight for a through ball, a quality which helps to unlock rigid defences and provide service to any striking options.
In terms of weakness, he may well struggle with the physicality of the Barclays Premier League as many youngsters do and how he adapts to this will be a telling indicator of what kind of player he will flourish into. Unlike Wayne Rooney when purchased, Bishop does not have the stature of a Premier League footballer currently and could be bullied off the ball in such a competitive environment and this is where many critics arguments begin; should United be shelling out £10 million for an unproven 18-year-old who is yet to play in the Premier League?
Another question that has been risen, is the concern that Bishop is too similar to the youth and first team options at United already and that the money could be used better elsewhere. When Nick Powell joined United from Crewe Alexandra he was further along the line in his development but is of the same ilk as Bishop, Jesse Lingard at 22 years old favours that playmaker role as well as Juan Mata, Angel Di Maria and Ander Herrera being Van Gaal’s leading options. In a team jam-packed with playmakers, first team opportunities would be few and far between for Bishop if he were to join United.
Honestly, the ideal situation for Bishop’s development may well be to continue his progress at Ipswich for the next three to four seasons and then for United to return and reassess him as a prospective signing. Otherwise we may see him go the way of Zoran Tosic, Davide Petrucci and Giuseppe Rossi, all players who failed to reach their potential at United after being signed at a young age due to a lack of opportunities and mountains of pressure placed upon their young shoulders.