Begovic seeks a win double

SO much is riding on Ipswich Town's trip to fellow strugglers Reading tomorrow - and Asmir Begovic has more to gain than most.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

SO much is riding on Ipswich Town's trip to fellow strugglers Reading tomorrow - and Asmir Begovic has more to gain than most.

Town's on loan keeper would do himself a power of good if he could keep a second clean-sheet on the bounce, and perhaps help Roy Keane's men to clamber off the Championship basement.

It could give the 22-year-old the leg-up he needs to earn selection for Bosnia & Herzegovina's two-legged World Cup play-off against Portugal over the coming fortnight.

But for the moment, club duty comes before his allegiance to country.

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“The win over Derby has given us that bit of momentum,” insisted Begovic, with reference to Town's first win of the season at the 15th attempt against the Rams last weekend.

“Reading may not have won at home since January, but I never like to look at the record of other teams and what they're all about.

“I am starting to get to know everyone at Ipswich. Roy Keane is a nice guy and he's helped me to settle in.

“He has showed good faith in me, by playing me straight away. It's my job to try and see the team climb the table,” added Begovic.

A win for Town tomorrow would start that long climb up the table - they would leapfrog hosts Reading, who are currently three places and two points ahead.

And despite the club's lowly position, Portsmouth loanee Begovic has yet to finish on the losing team after four starts, with three draws and a win.

“I'm really enjoying it at Ipswich. In fact, the facilities here are better than they are at Portsmouth!” revealed Begovic.

“It's been a learning curve at Portsmouth, playing behind David James, but I needed to be playing games.

“We all want to be playing, and sometimes you play at someone's expense. Richard Wright has helped me to settle in, and I'm grateful for that,” added Begovic, who has made just two appearances in the Premier League for Pompey.

Begovic made his international debut, as an injury-time substitute, in Bosnia & Herzegovina's 2-0 win in Estonia last month, which secured second spot behind group winners Spain.

He didn't have a serious save to make during his brief time on the pitch, but that cameo appearance has meant he is now committed to playing for Bosnia for the rest of his career, rather than Canada, for whom he has dual citizenship.

“I have that one cap now, so I can't suddenly go back to Canada,” explained Begovic, who played in the same Canadian under-20 team as current Town winger Jaime Peters.

“There's no going back for me. It was always my intention to play for Canada, but I had a couple of falling-outs with the Canadian Association and then FIFA changed the rules.

“It used to be that you could only change allegiance before the age of 21, but now age doesn't matter, so long as you haven't played a competitive game for another country.

“It's nice to be called up by Bosnia, and it's a big game for us (against Portugal), as big as it gets. We are confident, especially as we have the advantage of being at home in the second leg.

“I don't know whether I will play. There are three of us vying for the one spot, and my lack of experience might count against me. The other two are in their late 20s or early 30s.

“But I reckon if you're good enough, then you're old enough. I'm playing regularly now, with Ipswich, so I'm in a good position,” concluded Begovic.

Begovic is the only Bosnian international currently playing in England, although several do play their club football in Germany.

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