Ipswich Town striker Frank Nouble has not given up on representing the Ivory Coast at next year’s World Cup

Frank Nouble

Frank Nouble - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Town striker Frank Nouble says he has not given up on being called up to the Ivory Coast squad ahead of next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

The 22-year-old was born in Peckham, London, and represented England at Under-17 and Under-19 level. Both his parents were born in the West-African nation of the Ivory Coast though meaning he is still eligible to represent them.

Nouble – who has scored two goals in his last four appearances for the Blues – started out as a youth team player at Chelsea and has spoken in the past about how he used to stay over at Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba’s house as a teenager.

Now he’s hoping to step into the Galatasaray front man’s sizeable shoes when the 35-year-old eventually retires.

“I was born in Peckham, but I grew up speaking French at home (the Ivory Coast a former French colony),” explained Nouble. “The people that work with the Ivory Coast are close to my extended family. I’m good friends with Salomon Kalou (ex Chelsea winger, Ivory Coast international) and used to stay over at Drogba’s house when I was a teenager.

“I trained with the national team two-and-half-years ago, but I chose to stay with the England Under-17s and Under-19s at that time. If the chance comes to play for the Ivory Coast then I will take it. It would make my parents very proud.”

The ex-West Ham and Wolves striker continued: “The chance will come if I’m playing and doing well for Ipswich. The next generation has got to come through for the Ivory Coast now, the likes of Drogba, Yaya Toure, Kolo Toure and Gervinho are all a bit older now. Next summer will probably be their last major tournament.”

Asked if securing a seat on the plane to Brazil was out of the question, he replied: “Anything can happen.

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“Look at the lad we played against on Tuesday, (Jordan) Rhodes. He hit a rich vein of form and now he’s playing for Scotland.

“If I keep doing well then I am sure the call will come.”

Speaking about Nouble, who has started just 10 games for Ipswich since arriving for a nominal fee back in January, manager Mick McCarthy said: “You improve by playing games. You can be coached on the training ground, but you need to play. He’s not had as many minutes as he’d like, but he’s improved.

“I don’t think he had a good first half on Tuesday, but he had an excellent second half.

“There’s more to come from him as he gets older and maturer. I remember playing against Niall Quinn towards the end of my career, he was big and gangly and I bashed him about and roughed him up. Two years later I wondered what had happened because it was the other way around.

“You learn how to use your physique. (Burnley striker) Sam Vokes is a good example of that. I signed him at Wolves as an 18-year-old and he was built like a man, so we trained him like a man and expected men’s performances. He didn’t quite do it. Three, four, five years on, what is he 23 now? He’s a proper bloke out there. He’s physically tougher, he’s scoring his goals and fulfilling his potential.

“I’m hoping that’s what’s going to happen with Frank.”

Ipswich Town host Huddersfield Town at Portman Road this afternoon (3pm kick-off). Follow @Stuart_Watson on Twitter for live match updates.