Young stars could move on

IT is possible that prime young talent like Connor Wickham could be sold to the big boys in order to make up for the shortfall at the academy Sammy Morgan has warned.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

IT is possible that prime young talent like Connor Wickham could be sold to the big boys in order to make up for the shortfall at the academy Sammy Morgan has warned.

The last graduate sold for decent money was Darren Bent four years ago and Morgan appreciates that new owner Marcus Evans will be looking for a return in his investment into the academy sooner, rather than later.

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With the threat of quotas looming the Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Chelsea, have been sniffing around Town's young players with Colchester-based Wickham attracting particular interest.

Morgan said: “Of course everyone has their price and if we have good young players here then it is possible a big club will come in for them.

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“There will come a time when the incomings and outgoings are measured. Overall we are still in the black for the club but perhaps not in the recent four years.

“It could be Mr Evans may question that but we still have players in the first team that have come through and they have a market value. We also have more coming through and they have a value either in our first team or if they get sold on.”

Owen Garvan is the last player to really make a notch for himself in the first team from the academy, with Jordan Rhodes who joined as a 15-year-old from Barnsley, likely to be the next to get his chance.

Morgan insisted though that the academy more than paid its way in the long term and remained a vital tool for the Blues.

“We have a tradition at Ipswich in the youth cup and the crowd here love their young players which is tremendous.

“The youth development has worked for Ipswich Town.

“I know 'academy' is a dirty word at many clubs but if we are not going to develop players in this country what is going to happen?

“Do we just stop and just bring in from abroad and then find they are no better than we might have here.

“Football has gone global and some clubs will go to the other end of the world to bring in players but we prefer to look local.”

The decision by the Premier League to not allow Championship clubs to play in their reserve leagues has left a huge void in the development of Town youngsters, according to Morgan.

That is a factor in stunting their progress into the first team and the club is now looking at exploiting the loan system to make up for it.

Morgan said: “The reserve league is a shambles and we are missing a staging post. When he bought into this originally we were in the Premier Reserve league now we are not allowed to play those clubs. So instead of the Chelsea and Arsenals we are playing teams, with all due respect, that are not doing our lads any good so they are missing out on a stage which is why we have to go to the loan system.

“At the moment the squad is large and that is likely to be trimmed down and that in turn could lead to some of these lads getting an opportunity.”

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