Wickham shock could work in his favour

IPSWICH TOWN: To be unceremoniously hauled off after barely half an hour is not what you expect of teenage prodigy Connor Wickham.

Despite his tender 17 years the striker is already looked upon as a player who possesses a talent above the reach of the rest of the Blues squad.

So it was no surprise that he looked shocked when he saw his number nine on the substitute replacement board held up by the fourth official in Saturday’s 1-1 Championship draw at Scunthorpe United on Saturday.

And he turned out to be completely outshone by Hyam, who may be 18 months older at coming up for 19 but has no international caps and no Premier League clubs on his tail with wedges of around �10million in their hands.

While Hyam showed his team mates how to pass and tackle after an opening 30 minutes that was worse than even their darkest hour last season, Wickham had earlier been unable to make any impact and looked out of his depth.

His final contribution was to aimlessly boot the ball straight to Sam Togwell when given time to clear the latest of numerous Scunthorpe raids.

Togwell said thank you very much and aimed a long ball into the path of David Mirfin who capitalised on a stretched visiting defence to head beyond Marton Fulop.

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Wickham was not the only one to have endured a nightmare start to the game and an extra midfield man needed to be brought on as Town were being over run in that department.

But with the Tottenham chief scout looking on - no doubt also taking a note of Spurs loanees Andros Townsend and Jake Livermore - there was little to suggest that Wickham was going to have any influence on the game.

One bad game does not take away the skills and potential the lad has and his youth and the sever nature of the pre-season ankle injury he is only just recovering from has to be taken into account.

There is no suggestion that his feet are not planted firmly on the ground with Army officer dad Stefan at his side.

But if there was any thought in Wickham’s head that he had ‘made it’ then this humbling experience may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

He received backing from experienced team mate Gareth McAuley, who said: “Connor should not let his head go down.

“It is all experience and all part of his learning curve.

“It is part of football, and the manager could have taken off any player the way we started the game.”

Wickham, who is still waiting his first goal of the season, may well have a chance to get back on song at Reading tomorrow with Jason Scotland also struggling at Glanford Park and Tamas Priskin doing little of note when he came on.

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