Connor Wickham: I want to play for Ipswich Town
CONNOR Wickham is set to make his England Under-21 debut tonight insisting that he’s perfectly happy playing under Roy Keane at Portman Road.
And he admits that he faces a challenge to get in Keane’s starting line-up.
It would be the striker’s first cap at this level if he faces Germany in Wiesbaden, and shows how highly he is rated in the football world to get a call-up at the age of 17.
Wickham has not had the best of seasons so far after suffering a serious ankle injury in pre-season starting just three first-team matches and completing 90 minutes just once.
But he still has Premier League club scouts flocking to watch him with Liverpool favourites if any top-flight club is to make a move in January.
With club owner Marcus Evans reluctant to dip into his own pocket to provide Keane with the wherewithal to strengthen his squad the manager might have to look seriously at any bid around �6 million that comes in so that he can finance two or three experienced signings during the winter transfer window.
Despite stories of a falling out between gifted youngster and his manager, Wickham reveals that nothing has changed saying: “All I’m interested in is playing football for Ipswich Town.
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“I’m at the right club to develop and look after me on the pitch.
“All I’m concerned with is helping Ipswich do well this season.
“It’s nice to think that people might be watching, but I’m not bothered by it all. I’m not worried about what is going on around me.
“And I’ve got the right family around me to look after me off the pitch.”
Wickham has set his sights on gaining a regular first-team place under Keane and to make up for lost time this season as Ipswich seek to get their season back on track and win a place at Wembley in the Carling Cup.
“I’m no different from any other player,” Wickham told the match-day programme. “I want to start matches and want to play as many games as I can.
“But I know I’ve got to work hard on the pitch, do all the right things off the pitch and show the manager why I should be playing.
“With Jason Scotland, Tamas Priskin and Ronan Murray, I know I’ve got to work hard to get a place in the starting XI.
“That’s the challenge for me. Those three are doing well so to get in front of them is not going to be easy.
“It’s down to me to show the manager that I deserve a place.
“I’m getting fitter and stronger every week and I just want to get out there and play as many games as I can.”
Wickham has previously won England caps at Under-17 and Under-19 level helping the Under-19’s win the European Championship last summer.