Carson thanks pal Wickham for helping him make the grade

‘THANKS pal’ is the message today to fellow teenager Connor Wickham from 17-year-old old Ipswich Town rookie Josh Carson.

Carson can’t wait to experience more first team action, and he is expected to keep his place in Paul Jewell’s side for Saturday’s Championship game against Crystal Palace at Portman Road.

The Northern Ireland Under-21 international enjoyed an exceptional game in last weekend’s 2-1 win at promotion-chasing Burnley and is being tipped to have a big future in the game.

Wickham, who made his Town debut two years ago at the age of 16, has already made his mark and is now regarded as one of the hottest properties in English football.

And Carson, who made his debut against Scunthorpe in the last home fixture on March 19, acknowledges the part his pal has played in helping to get his senior career off to such a positive start.

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“Connor’s been a great help,” said Carson.

“We get on well and do stuff at weekends together, go to the cinema and stuff.

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“He’s been a big help to me.

“We’ve known each other for four or five years and it just makes it a little easier to settle in when you have someone of your age in the dressing-room.

“But to be fair, all the lads have been great.”

While Carson is on top of the world right now fellow Northern Ireland youngster and friend Rory McKeown is seeing the other side of football having been told this week that he will not be offered a deal in the summer when his academy days come to an end.

For Carson it is like being in dreamland, and he explained his feelings:

“Words can’t explain it to be honest, it’s been brilliant the last couple of weeks.

“Walking out of the tunnel on my debut, I thought to myself ‘Brilliant, 19,000 people, this is what I want.’

“I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing because obviously I’ve been doing okay.”

Carson travelled to Cardiff and Leeds as 19th man before getting his chance, and he went on: “I didn’t expect to play, didn’t expect to be on the bench, but it was a brilliant experience for me and it’s continued from there.

“I was just happy to be there, just travelling with the players and getting a taste of the first-team.

“It really encouraged me and pushed me on to become what I’ve become in the last couple of weeks.

“I think I’ve become a better player over the last few weeks and I know I’ve got to continue to work hard and keep pushing on.

“I can hopefully kick on now.”

Carson has been withdrawn from the Northern Ireland Under-19 squad that plays Slovakia in two friendlies next week.

McKeown and another Town youngster Cormac Burke are both named for the games in Ballymoney next Monday and Wednesday, which clash with Ipswich’s first team match at home to Middlesbrough next Tuesday.

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