Connor Wickham on England’s World Cup chances
IPSWICH TOWN: Connor Wickham believes England have got a decent chance of winning the World Cup in South Africa this summer.
The 17-year-old Blues striker knows how to win a top international tournament having played a leading role in England’s success in the European Under-17 Championships at the end of last month.
With his future cleared up yesterday when his father Stefan confirmed that the front man will see out the two years of his Town contract, Wickham looked to the wider spectrum of the game.
“England have got a decent chance in the World Cup finals,” he said.
“They have a good squad and the capacity to do very well.
“Having just come from the final stages of a tournament I know the importance of staying focussed all the while, and I’m sure the England party in South Africa will do this.”
Wickham, who was mobbed by Town fans at the Blues’ stand at the Suffolk Show on Thursday when he took part in a question and answer session with Simon Milton and signed numerous autographs, is looking to kick-on next season.
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“I had a week off before the Under-17 tournament in Liechtenstein and I’ve got time to myself before we start pre-season training on June 28.
“I plan to take a rest and then get ready for the new season.
“If we can get a good result against West Ham at home in the final build-up game it will set us up for a good start to the new season.
“If we can get five or six wins on the board early on it will give us the platform to go on and make a success of the season.
“I’ll be competing with some good strikers, but I hope to play well enough and to score frequently enough to gain a place in the side.”
Wickham, who took his driving test yesterday (FRI), scored 44 goals for the youth and reserve teams last season, and six in eight starts for the first team.
He revealed that his idol is Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, and that his best moment in football so far was scoring his first Town league goal.
“It’s my favourite Town moment. Because the goal came in the 93rd minute and it won us the game it was very special,” said Wickham.
“And I can clearly remember being offered an Ipswich scholarship in November 2007.
“I was over the moon at the time. It seems a little thing perhaps now, but it was so important to me at the time.
“I’m confident I can keep my feet on the ground and I have good people around me.”
While his father confirmed that his son is going nowhere and that the youngster’s development at Ipswich is more important than money, �5million-rated Wickham added:
“I read the papers the same as anybody else and I see the speculation.
“But I’ve signed a two-year Ipswich deal and this is where it stands. There’s been no change there.
“I look back on what I achieved last season – and I achieved quite a lot – but the aim is to improve on that in 2010/11.
“I played two games under the management of Jim Magilton, and then Roy Keane came in.
“He has stuck by me and he has given me my chance.”