Friction builds as Wickham wants to play more games

IPSWICH TOWN: Connor Wickham’s desire to pay regular first team football has cooled his relationship with Blues manager Roy Keane.

Privately the 17-year-old has admitted that he finds it strange that Keane cold shoulders him for much of the time.

The striker is being constantly watched by Premier League clubs and a bid in the region of �8million is in the offing when the transfer window opens in January with Liverpool currently leading the chase.

Wickham has started two games this season, and in the first he was hauled off after just 31 minutes at Scunthorpe.

He feels he should be playing more - or at least have an explanation from his manager as to why.

Wickham showed his best form of the campaign as a second half substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 home Championship victory over Millwall.

Reports suggest that either Keane or Wickham will have to go in January such is the problem in their relationship.

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This is way off the mark as Keane will argue that he is right to ‘protect’ a youngster who is only now getting back to full fitness after suffering a serious ankle injury in pre-season.

Plus Keane has Tamas Priskin playing his best football since his arrival at Portman Road and Jason Scotland scoring goals regularly.

It understandable that Wickham’s youthful exuberance means he gets frustrated when not starting, but Keane has his own way of dealing with players, and ensuring they keep their feet on the ground is one of his traits.

“It’s unfair to expect miracles from a 17-year-old,” said Keane.

“It’s crazy to depend on a 17-year-old for goals to take us somewhere.

“In an ideal world Connor should still be in the background and learning his trade at places like Stevenage in the reserve team.

“Connor gets injured and it’s treated as though it’s the end of the world.

“He’s got a chance to make a top player, but I won’t be burning him out – I want him to still be in good shape when he’s 33.”

Wickham will get his chance but few will blame Keane for the way the youngster has been handled this season.

But whether the current reported ‘differences’ between the two have any bearing on Wickham’s future when an offer or two comes in early next year remains to be seen.

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