Barry has an eye for spotting players

BARRY Kettewell has a gift that is worth millions of pounds. He can spot a player.Kettlewell is the scout who unearthed Darren Bent and he continues to help supply the Blues Academy.

By Derek Davis

BARRY Kettewell has a gift that is worth millions of pounds. He can spot a player.

Kettlewell is the scout who unearthed Darren Bent and he continues to help supply the Blues Academy. But few have flourished quite as much as the youngster he first spotted on the playing fields of Cambridgeshire.

Kettlewell said: “I first saw Darren playing for Godmanchester Rovers Under-13s. He stood out with his pace and cleverness but what really swung it was he could score goals. I watched him play in a final and they won 8-4 with Darren scoring seven.

You may also want to watch:

“I recommended him to Malcolm Moore at Ipswich and he joined the Academy at 14.”

Being tall and athletic even at a young age helped Bent stand out but Kettlewell saw he had great potential on the pitch and a wonderful attitude off it guided by supportive parents.

Most Read

He said: “Darren was a very focused lad even then, although nowhere near the finished article. The Ipswich Town Academy turned him into what he is today although he was always very dedicated and worked hard to get to where he is.

“Off the pitch he is a very clean-living lad and really enthusiastic and bubbly.”

Kettlewell believes Bent made a good choice by going to White Hart Lane and for the right reasons.

He said: “Darren has shown that money is not the most important thing. He chose Spurs because he has tremendous respect for Martin Jol and he likes the English ethic that is at the club.

“He is ambitious and want to do well for Spurs and for England but he knows he is at a good club going places and he has got to work very hard to even get into the squad.”

With 55 goals in 142 first team games, a reserve league title and helping the under-18s reach the FA Youth Cup semi-final, Bent paid his dues for Town but is still delighted the bonus payment, which could reach £2.7m as part of his sell-on clause, has helped the Blues even more after an initial £2.6m sale followed by two £100,000 appearance payments.

Bent said: “I had a great upbringing in the game at Ipswich and the club is still very close to my heart.

“I could not have asked for a better education and start in the game than the one I got at Ipswich and I'm glad the club has prospered from my move. I hope the money will help Ipswich get back into the Premiership.”

Kettlewell, who lives in Newmarket, is still discovering talent for the Blues with Craig Calver his latest gem being polished by the Academy looking to push through the Under-18s and into the reserves.

He said: “I'm just one of a number of scouts all looking to help Ipswich and it is a very proud feeling when you see someone like Darren go on and succeed.”

The aerospace worker works closely with Steve McCall and also scouts games for Jim Magilton on Saturdays searching for talent of all age groups around the Cambridgeshire area.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter