Wickham’s value will double in year if he stays with Town

IPSWICH TOWN: Russell Osman today predicted that striker Connor Wickham’s value will double over the next 12 months.

The ex-Blues defender watched Wickham star for England when they won the European Under-17 Championships at the end of last month, and he can see similarities between the 17-year-old and Paul Mariner.

Osman said when commentating on the 2-1 final victory over Spain for Eurosport on Sunday that Wickham would not be out of place in the England World Cup party that will soon be departing for South Africa.

The 11-cap England international, who played in every game when Town won the UEFA Cup and came close to a treble under the management of Bobby Robson in 1980/81, is certain Wickham should stay at Portman Road – at least next season.

“Connor has the ability to help Ipswich get back to the Premier League,” said Osman.

“You need players of his class to get you to the top flight.

“And the lad will really benefit from playing 35 games or so in the Championship next season.

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“This will be better for him than being on the fringe of a Premier League side.

“But every player has his price as Everton found out when Wayne Rooney moved to Manchester United as a teenager.

“Connor is still raw of course being so young, but a season playing first team football is what he needs right now and he may be worth �5million now, but I’m sure he would be worth around �10million in a year if he has played regularly.

“All he needs is considerate coaching, and he will get that at Ipswich.”

And comparing Wickham to Ipswich legend Mariner, Osman added: “Yes I can see similarities.

“Connor still has some catching up to do when it comes to heading ability, but that is only to be expected.

“But with his right and his left foot he is up there with Paul and if he does half as well for Ipswich as Paul did he will have achieved a great deal.

“Paul was a brilliant target man, and Connor is similar. When you are under pressure at the back you can place the ball up front in the general direction of either and there is every chance they will obtain and then retain possession.

“Physically Connor can handle himself already and there is no point any central defender looking to rough him up.

“He’s just as strong as Emile Heskey and has a better eye for goal. And he could do a job for England even now.”

Osman was produced through the Ipswich youth policy and during his time at Portman Road he saw a host of others come through and make the grade – with many going on to play international football.

“You need help, and I’m sure Connor will get that. He’ll have a few dips as all young players have and will have some iffy games along the way.

“But a season being the main Ipswich striker is just what he needs right now and from what I have seen, Connor will then be set to go on and take on the world.”

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