Bowditch offered a pro contract

Exciting teenage talent Dean Bowditch, who made his first-team debut at the age of 16 last season, is the latest hot prospect to be offered a full professional contract by Ipswich Town.

Exciting teenage talent Dean Bowditch, who made his first-team debut at the age of 16 last season, is the latest hot prospect to be offered a full professional contract by Ipswich Town.

Young stars Matt Richards and Darren Bent have already signed longer three-year contracts as Ipswich attempt to hold on to their Academy stars.

Harlow-born England youth star Bowditch only celebrated his 17th birthday on Sunday.

He earned a place in Town folklore last season by coming on from the substitutes' bench at Carrow Road to turn the game and set up a famous Ipswich victory.


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It was 0-0 when he sped down the left wing, dumping Norwich player Craig Fleming on his backside in the process, and crossed for Fabian Wilnis to score the opening goal in a fine 2-0 away win.

Ipswich boss Joe Royle, himself a former England striker, was impressed by his precocious talent and soon promoted Bowditch from reserve and Under-19 football after he took over the reigns at Portman Road.

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Although he only made five first-team appearances, all from the bench, Royle was making it clear that Bowditch would be very much part of his plans for next season.

He had a fine season overall, scoring four goals for England U17s as well as hitting the net in three Ipswich sides, the U17s, U19s and reserves.

His wonder goal for Town Reserves against Charlton Athletic in April, where he advanced and chipped the keeper, had second string manager Steve McCall describing it as "magnificent, real quality."

Bowditch's progress with Ipswich while still a schoolboy alerted other clubs, including Manchester United, but his decision to join Town as a scholar a year ago was vindicated by his rapid rise to prominence.

Bowditch, whose elder brother Ben plays for Spurs and is also an England youth international, has made faster progress at Portman Road than he might at some clubs.

At an Arsenal or a Manchester United he would still be a long way from the first-team squad despite his exciting talent.

He is also highly-rated by England, where the coaches have already hinted at further promotion.

He could well be involved in the World Youth Championships which have been re-scheduled by FIFA to the United Arab Emirates from November 27 to December 19.

England have what looks to be a good draw with Colombia, Egypt and Japan in their opening group games.

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