I dedicate my career to dead hero

STEPHEN Bywater will make his Ipswich Town debut tomorrow and dedicated this new chapter of his career to former Manchester United, Aston Villa and Coventry City keeper Les Sealey.

STEPHEN Bywater will make his Ipswich Town debut tomorrow and dedicated this new chapter of his career to former Manchester United, Aston Villa and Coventry City keeper Les Sealey.

Bywater requested the No. 43 shirt when he joined Town on a season-long loan from Derby County in memory of the former goalkeeping coach who played a huge part in his early life.

Bywater said: “Les was like a dad to me at West Ham. I spent a few years working with him and learning, not just about football, but life and how to be a man.

“He died at 43 which is no age and I have dedicated my career which is why I wear that number.”


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Bywater has won promotion to the Premiership with Derby and West Ham and hopes that knowledge and experience will rub off on the Blues squad.

He said: “I have not come here to sit around. I want to win. I'm a winner in life and people remember winners.

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“I'm determined to get the best out of myself. I'm passionate and have strong beliefs which I want to get across to the other lads.

“I will be doing my damnedest to keep the ball out and stopping the goals however ugly it is.

“We are all in it together and if people need to be told and advised them I'm not afraid to give my opinion.

“People can tell me too and I will take it in and learn from it because that is how to get the best out of people.”

Although he worked hard to get into the top flight, Bywater had no qualms about leaving Derby for a Championship club.

He said: “It was not that difficult leaving Derby for Ipswich. They have just signed Roy Carroll and if a manager signs a new keeper he is obviously going to be playing.

“I would rather play and work than be sat on the bench. I want to earn my money rather than take the easy way out. I want to graft and be the best and to be the best you have to be playing.

“The manager here at Ipswich has given me that chance and I'm very lucky.

“I had the best time last year winning promotion and even this season has been good for me. I have learnt a lot and now know what you need to do to be in the Premier League and that is be a lot better than you are currently.”

The 26-year-old Manchester-born keeper will be remembered by Town fans for his clash with Alex Bruce, a couple of weeks after annoying Norwich City fans after a tete-a-tete with Darren Huckerby

Bywater hopes all that will be put aside and he can win over the Portman Road crowd.

He said: “It was all blown out of proportion. There won't be a problem. We are both professionals who come in to work to do a job.

“Hopefully the supporters will accept me as an Ipswich Town player and see that I want to be the best. I'm not a Derby or West Ham player any more, I'm an Ipswich Town player and I will give them everything.

“I'm passionate and if they want to get behind me then I would love that. I'm sure they will when they see me as a winner.

“One of the reasons I chose to come here is the fan base because I know what they can be like. They want success as I want success along with the gaffer and chairman.”

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