Connor’s Belgian test

CONNOR Wickham’s big date with England should hopefully kick-start his Portman Road season.

CONNOR Wickham’s big date with England should hopefully kick-start his Portman Road season.

Wickham is yet to really splutter into life with Ipswich Town this campaign, due to a two-month spell on the sidelines with an ankle injury, followed by a series of short-term cameo displays.

The 17-year-old whizz-kid, who attracted an �8m bid from Tottenham over the summer, is champing at the bit to play his first 90 minutes of the season.

And ironically, while Town are currently in the midst of a two-week break from competitive action, due to internationals, Wickham is hoping to regain his tip-top form with a debut for England Under-19s.

Town boss Roy Keane certainly believes that Wickham’s long stay away in Belgium, for three group qualifiers for the 2011 Euro Under-19 Championships, will have a positive effect on his teenage centre-forward’s overall season.

England Under-19s take on Cyprus this Friday, Albania on Sunday and then hosts Belgium next Wednesday.

Most Read

Keane confirmed: “ Connor’s now away reporting for the England Under-19s. It’s good for him every now and then to play with and against players his own age.

“He’s 17 and we’re throwing him in against big strong boys who know the Championship inside out.

“But Connor’s now going away to play with good players for England, and working with very good coaches.

“That’s why I’m delighted that he’s going away. The change of scenery will do him good. We all like a change of scenery every now and then,” added Keane.

Wickham was already considered to be hot property, and was being chased by a number of leading Premier League clubs, when he increased his value by playing a big part in England Under-17s winning their European Championships at the start of the summer.

Ex-Town trainee Wickham banged home both goals in the 2-1 win over France in the semi-finals, before then netting the winner in the final against Spain.

But any hopes of a blistering start to this season were dashed by an ankle injury sustained in training. Out for two months, Wickham made his return as a second-half substitute at Portsmouth on September 11, despite not even having a run-out for the reserves.

But he has not quite made the impact that was hoped, following his return to the first-team set-up, and has not yet played a whole game.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter