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Leif Davis interview: Ipswich Town defender on Kieran McKenna's influence, assists, Marcelo Bielsa and promotion

Leif Davis chats to Sky Sports about Kieran McKenna and Marcelo Bielsa, having the most assists in the Championship and promotion aims with Ipswich; Watch Ipswich Town vs Millwall live on Sky Sports Football from 7.30pm on Wednesday night; Kick-off 8pm

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Ipswich Town's Leif Davis tells Sky Sports about the role Kieran McKenna and Marcelo Bielsa have played in turning him into the most influential attacking full-back in the Championship.

After 17 games of the 2023/24 Championship season, it is Ipswich's left-back Leif Davis that stands above the rest in the assist charts.

Seven goals have come about from his boot, while he has also created the most chances in the league, and played significantly more passes into the box than anyone else.

Davis admits he didn't always see himself as possessing the kind of attacking output he does now, and he has Kieran McKenna to thank.

"From day one when I walked in the door he told me he'd help me to improve my game, and he has done massively, going forward and defensively," Davis tells Sky Sports. "I didn't think I had that quality in the final third, it definitely wasn't my strongest point, but now I'd say it is.

"The way he has worked with me in training to be more comfortable with the ball at my feet in the final third, and to find passes instead of just getting it into the box and hoping for the best.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna applauds the fans at the end of the Sky Bet Championship match at the AESSEAL New York Stadium, Rotherham. Picture date: Tuesday November 7, 2023.
Image: Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna

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"The way I play in the team is more advanced to a normal left-back. I don't really have anyone in front of me, and I've got to do a lot on that side myself.

"But that's my job. It's why I was brought in and he trusts me to play that role - at least I hope he does!

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"It was one of the best choices I made to come here. It was a move down two leagues, but it's what you've got to do to play football. The rewards come if you work hard."

Davis, 23, has enjoyed the luxury so far of working under McKenna at Ipswich, and Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds.

He believes there are similarities between his former manager and his current boss.

"I've said it before but it's a similar kind of training under Kieran and Marcelo," Davis says.

"They both have very high demands in training in the way they both want you to work hard, learn every day and keep improving.

"Marcelo was unbelievable. It's why a lot of managers look to him, and why Pep Guardiola says he's one of the best in the world. He brought my game on massively."

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Watch highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between West Brom and Ipswich.

Ipswich suffered a rare setback at the weekend when they were beaten by West Brom. It was their first defeat on the road all season, and their second of the campaign overall.

Having worked under Baggies head coach Carlos Corberan at Leeds as well, Davis isn't surprised at how tough the game was.

"They pressed us really hard and made it difficult to do what we normally do," says the left-back. "They went man-to-man and were aggressive. He likes front-foot football.

"I knew how intense it would be because he looked up to Marcelo a lot when he was there as a coach. He took a lot from his style of play to Huddersfield and now at West Brom."

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Simeon Gholam and David Prutton pick their Championship team of the season so far.

It is easy to forget at times that Ipswich, with the trail they have blazed so far this season, are a newly-promoted side. Defeats at West Brom should not have come as such a shock.

It has been 11 years since anyone achieved consecutive automatic promotions to the Premier League, and Ipswich are still seven points clear of Leeds in third ahead of their match with Millwall at Portman Road on Wednesday night - live on Sky Sports Football.

"We're new to this league, but it's one of the best starts to the Championship anyone's had in a long time," says Davis.

"It's been physical, it's been tough, and it's hard to get out of. But the league suits us well. Last season it was difficult because teams would sit off us, but now we can try and work our way up the pitch quickly and create chances.

"Obviously I'd like to be in the Premier League, and so would the other lads at the club. It's everyone's dream to play in the best league in the world. The aim is to get there, but we won't get ahead of ourselves."

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