From Poland and Denmark to China, Mongolia and Gibraltar... Ipswich players travel the globe for international duty
PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 March 2018
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Two Ipswich Town stars will be looking to take a big step towards this summer’s World Cup over the next week while a host of younger players look to further their international careers.
Members of the Ipswich squad will be spread around the world during the break from league action, with Bartosz Bialkowski and Jonas Knudsen the most high profile as they strive to book their spots on the plane to Russia.
Bialkowski’s stunning form has earned the goalkeeper a first Poland call-up, with the Ipswich stopper looking to make his international debut in either of his side’s games against Nigeria (Friday evening) or South Korea (Tuesday night).
The 30-year-old is one of four goalkeepers included in the Poland squad, with Juventus keeper Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski of Swansea seemingly locks for the squad for Russia. The third goalkeeping squad is up for grabs, though, with Bialkowski battling Lukasz Skorupski of Roma for spot on the plane. While Bialkowski has been a regular for Ipswich for more than two years, Skorupski has played just 90 minutes of football this season and regular misses out on a place in the Italian club’s matchday squad.
Knudsen won two Denmark caps before joining the Blues in 2015 and is now back in the squad for tomorrow night’s clash with Panama and then a home game with Chile on Tuesday. He is battling with Riza Durmisi of Real Betis and Nicolai Boilesen of Copenhagen for the left-back position.
Both Ipswich players will be hoping to impress both in training and in games as they bid to become the first Ipswich player to go to a World Cup since Tommy Smith’s appearance with New Zealand in 2010.
Wales may have missed out on a place at this summer’s tournament, but Michael Crowe’s senior international journey is only now beginning.
Capped up to Under 21 level, the Blues’ reserve goalkeeper was a surprise seletion in Ryan Giggs’ first squad as manager for this week’s China Cup.
The 22-year-old has travelled to the Far East as understudy to Crystal Palace’s Wayne Hennessey and Chris Maxwell of Preston, with Wales’ first game coming today against the hosts before they take on either Czech Republic or Uruguay on Monday.
Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers is also hoping to make a big impression on the international scene this week and could play his second game for the United States in a friendly against Paraguay in North Carolina on Wednesday, March 28.
The Tottenham loanee qualifies for the USA through his father, Howard Carter, who played in the NBA for the Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks before moving to Europe.
Given his only involvement so far has been in friendlies, the defender could still switch allegiance to England.
Kevin Bru, who is set to depart this summer, is in the Mauritius squad for friendlies against Macau and Mongolia, while Manchester City loanee Bersant Celina is in the Kosovo squad for games against Madagascar and Burkina Faso to be played in France.
At youth level, Flynn Downes started for England Under 19s in their 4-1 win over Hungary this afternoon, with two further matches coming next week as the Young Lions take on Latvia and then Macedonia as part of their qualifying campaign to reach this summer’s European Championships.
Tristan Nydam was originally called up to the squad but misses out due to injury, while academy youngster Kian Ronan has been named in Gibraltar Under 21 squad for the first time for European Championship qualifiers against Serbia and Russia.