Wickham’s England call-up could hit Town’s preparations

CONNOR Wickham’s England dreams could become the stuff of nightmares for Paul Jewell with the Ipswich number nine potentially out of action for the Blues until two weeks before the start of next season.

Jewell’s pre-season plans could be seriously hampered if Wickham and the England Under-21s progress in next month’s European Championships.

The ambitious striker will be hoping to help his country to glory for the second consecutive summer when the tournament kicks off in Denmark on June 11.

But the further the Three Lions progress, the longer Wickham will be absent from Town’s pre-season due to little-known FIFA rules that dictate a player must have four weeks holiday after completing a football season.

In one sense, the worst-case scenario is that England reach the final, extending the teenager’s season until June 25, meaning Wickham will not return to training with Town until the end of July – with the new Championship campaign beginning on August 6.

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If England unexpectedly lose in the group stages, Wickham will only miss two-and-a-half weeks of pre-season which the club confirmed yesterday would start on July 1.

Though patriotic, Jewell might be forgiven for secretly hoping England’s campaign is cut short and he gets the 18-year-old back in one piece – especially as his initial attempts to sign a striker have thus far been rebuffed.

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