Blues hero Wark backing Garvan

IPSWICH Town legend John Wark today said that the sky is the limit for emerging Blues midfielder Owen Garvan.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town legend John Wark today said that the sky is the limit for emerging Blues midfielder Owen Garvan.

Twenty-year-old Garvan has been likened after recent impressive games to Steve Gerrard and David Beckham, and Wark is convinced that the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international can become a big star in his own right.

“Owen is the best player in the current Ipswich squad,” said Wark, who made 678 Town appearances and scored 179 goals.

“He could play in the Premier League now as he is a gifted natural footballer.

“Owen plays the game the right way and has a football brain.

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“He makes the game look simple and has time on the ball, which is the hallmark of a top class player.

“And I have been pleased to see that he looks physically stronger these days, and what I really like is that he does not hide even if the crowd are getting on the backs of the players.

“He is always looking for the ball and always wants the ball.”

Wark, recognised as the best Ipswich midfielder although the likes of Arnold Muhren or Frans Thijssen would perhaps dispute this, does not see Garvan in the Beckham mould, but he can see some Gerrard in him.

Garvan started just five of the opening 14 Town games this season. But he has come into his own in recent weeks, scoring five goals to make him equal top scorer with Jon Stead.

“Steve Gerrard has the power and thrust to make inroads into opposing defences,” added Wark, who is still playing Sunday football aged 51.

“And this is something that is coming into Owen's game.

“When he first came into the team he was passing the ball with Jim (Magilton) like a veteran, which showed his quality.

“He has had a few illness problems but, if he carries on making the same progress, the sky is the limit for him.”

And, thanks to the investment of club owner Marcus Evans, Ipswich are no longer a selling club, which means there is little fear of Garvan being poached by a bigger club.

“Owen can go on and make a name for himself at senior international level,” said Wark.

“I have watched him play for the Republic of Ireland Under-21 side and he was running the game. He is a lovely lad, who is also a Liverpool fan, which is great.”

Garvan has been named in the Coca-Cola Championship team of the week for the second week running. He was named alongside Town striker Kevin Lisbie last week, but is the sole Town representative this week.

He is joined in the team by: Dimi Konstantopoulos (Swansea), Liam Rosenior (Reading), Michael Mancienne (Wolves), Darren Moore (Barnsley), Jordan Stewart (Derby), Jordi Gomez (Swansea), Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton), Chris Eagles (Burnley), James Beattie (Sheff Utd) and Jon Macken (Barnsley).

Gareth McAuley, Jon Walters, Liam Trotter and Lisbie have all made a single appearance in the weekly team this season. Garvan has now made two.