Wickham interest increases with England success

IPSWICH Town’s hopes of hanging on to super kid Connor Wickham appear to be diminishing after the 17-year-old turned in another impressive England ‘shop window’ display.

IPSWICH Town’s hopes of hanging on to super kid Connor Wickham appear to be diminishing after the 17-year-old turned in another impressive England ‘shop window’ display.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is poised to make a �10million bid either in January or next summer as he sees the striker having similar potential to Theo Walcott, who he snapped up for �5million before he had fully broken into the Southampton first team.

Wickham won a penalty and went close a number of times for England Under-19’s as they ended a trio of European qualifiers yesterday with a 2-1 defeat against Belgium.

He helped England make progress with a goal in a 6-1 win over Albania before coming on the final 15 minutes against Cyprus in a 4-0 victory in the second game.

Tottenham, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been linked with Wickham.

Following an ankle injury sustained in pre-season, Wickham has yet to show his best form for Ipswich this term although he is certain to be included in the squad for the home game against Coventry City on Saturday.

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Town manager Roy Keane welcomed Wickham’s first selection for the England Under-19’s having helped the Under-17’s win the European Championship last Spring.

“Going away with England is just what Connor needed,” said Keane.

“He was with talented players of his own age and being in a different scenario after working hard at Ipswich to get fit will have served him well.”

Keane has no desire to lose Wickham, but the situation will be out of his hands if a bid comes in that meets the requirements of club owner Marcus Evans.

Ipswich are believed to have turned down a �6million bid for Wickham in the summer.

Belgium keeper Koen Casteels denied Wickham on a number of occasions yesterday and he also saved Jonjo Shelvey’s spot kick after Wickham had been hauled down.

The home nation opened the scoring with their first shot on goal from Paul-Jose Mpoku deep in first half stoppage time with England gaining a deserved equaliser four minutes from time through Liverpool’s Michael Ngoo.

But Belgium responded with Hannes Van der Bruggen scoring an 88th minute winner.

Much could depend how Wickham responds in an Ipswich shirt after his international stint with Arsenal having watched him regularly and were no doubt represented in Belgium – as were a number of Premier League clubs.

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