Connor Wickham not interested in playing for the Republic of Ireland
- Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd
Former Ipswich Town striker Connor Wickham has no interest in switching his international allegiances to the Republic of Ireland, the EADT and Ipswich Star understands.
New Ireland boss Martin O’Neill yesterday said that he would consider asking Wickham to play for him on the international stage. O’Neill was Wickham’s manager at Sunderland, while his assistant Roy Keane was his manager at Ipswich.
Wickham is eligible to play for the Emerald Isle due to the fact that his well-travelled army officer father, Stefan, was born in Ulster, Northern Ireland.
The 20-year-old has scored six goals in 17 appearances for the England Under-21s, was born in Hereford, grew up in Reading and then joined Ipswich Town’s academy when his father was based at Colchester.
And a source close to the striker says his ambition very much remains becoming a full Three Lions international.
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That goal seems a long way off at present following his failure to really establish himself at Sunderland. He has made just nine league starts for the Wearside club since an £8.1m switch from Ipswich in 2011 and is currently on loan at Championship club Sheffield Wednesday.
“I worked with Connor at Sunderland,” said O’Neill. “Steve Bruce bought him but I thought the price tag concerned him and for a little while I thought being a professional footballer was enough for Connor and at that stage that he liked the lifestyle which was all very new to him.
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“But you have to knuckle down and actually have to go and do something. In my latter days at Sunderland it looked as if he was going to come round and wanted to become a professional player.
“He is out on loan at this minute at Sheffield Wednesday and Connor would be the first to say that to go and play in the Premier League week in, week out is still a big task.
“But those little spells on loan, particularly this one where he is doing all right and scored a few goals, will help him.
“I don’t think I am in a position at this minute to turn down anything and if someone tells me someone is available, particularly someone I have worked with and might have a chance, I would give it some consideration.”