Remember the name - Dean Bowditch

A new bright young star burst on to the first-team scene at Carrow Road on Sunday, writes David Vincent.At the final whistle Dean Bowditch turned his back to the Norwich fans and cheekily pointed to the No.

A new bright young star burst on to the first-team scene at Carrow Road on Sunday, writes David Vincent.

At the final whistle Dean Bowditch turned his back to the Norwich fans and cheekily pointed to the No. 17 and the name on the back of his royal blue shirt.

It was as if to say, "remember the name, and weep."

Sadly for those Canary fans this is another from the production line of Portman Road kids who are destined for the very top; Beattie, Burley, Wark, Dozzell, Bramble, Wright, Dyer, Bent, Ambrose . . . and now Bowditch.


You may also want to watch:


Bowditch, at 16 years old, joined Jason Dozzell in the record books when he appeared for the last 18 minutes plus four minutes time added-on at Norwich, although Dozzell was still at school when he appeared in the first team at Portman Road.

By the end of the Carrow Road game the Town fans had picked up the young striker's youth-team nickname, Deano, and sang it with glee after every precocious piece of skill and vision.

Most Read

He had a hand in both goals.

Now Ipswich boss Joe Royle is likely to place him under wraps, like a certain Wayne Rooney at Everton, to try to keep him out of the media pressure.

His arrival may have grabbed the headlines but that doesn't detract from an assured debut by Harlow teenager Matt Richards at left-back.

Strikers naturally make headlines, whether leaving defenders in their wake and scoring themselves or making goals for others.

Dean had two assists for the goals, to add to reserve-team goals against Derby and Arsenal in recent weeks, as well as fine performances at academy U19 and U17 level.

I've watched him develop in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years, making his first appearances, while still at school, for the U17 team.

Last season he was gradually introduced to the under-17s, little by little, while still at school. This first full-time season he has progressed to the U19s where he usually performs a dangerous partnership with Northern Ireland striker Sam Morrow.

These Ipswich kids, though, are developed to play in a variety of positions before settling on one, and he has also played out wide for Town and for England with great results.

Last July, at Birmingham City, he scored a fine brace of goals as England U17s beat the Czech Republic in a friendly, the first a cheeky back-flick from a right-wing cross the second running from the halfway line and chipping the keeper.

The academy's reason for existence is to see its charges progress all the way to the first team, and show the benefits their years of coaching in the Ipswich way have developed and improved their skills.

The academy coaches, Bryan Klug and his team, prepare them for that first-team call when it comes.

The young Bowditch already has the experience of playing and scoring for England as a schoolboy and since becoming an academy scholar.

And he has been called up for the European Youth Championships. There are group games against the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Scotland this month with the finals in Portugal in April and May.

On Sunday Deano arrived on the pitch with total self-confidence and a swagger which quickly won the hearts and minds of the Town fans in the crowd.

One special piece of skill, bouncing the ball between his own ankles like a Brazilian to deflect it past his marker and leave him for dead, showed total self-belief and a lack of fear. Bowditch has been on a fast track since he was picked up by Town at the age of nine, travelling from his Bishop's Stortford home to Town's satellite training centre at Harlow with coaches Steve Leslie and John Sykes. Manchester United tried to lure him away but he has remained loyal to Town.

Academy recruitment officer Malcolm Moore said: "It is great for the academy when our lads progress all the way to the first team, that is what we are here for.

"We all saw him play as a nine-year-old, Bryan, Ken (Goody) and Ian (Smith).

"He used to train with boys a year or two older than him, like Matt Richards.

"In those early days we never knew whether he was going to become a striker or defender. He was one of those boys who could play wherever he wanted on he pitch.

"Dean has always been one of those with potential and he has worked very hard at his game. He deserves all the success he is going to get out of the game.

"Those early days of the coaches working with him on basic techniques and skills are now being shown in his reserve games and the first team.

"Playing up a year has been beneficial to his soccer education too, closely monitored by Bryan and Ian, introducing him at the right time.

"His has had great family support, his parents Peter and Debbie and his grandad are always there for him.

"It was great for the academy we had four lads involved in the game at Norwich. The reserves at Southampton was three-quarters academy boys."

There will be choices for Joe Royle regarding his new No. 17 at the end of the week with the first team at home to strugglers Stoke City on Saturday. Bowditch could return to academy action. There are two academy games at the end of the week, at home to Charlton Athletic at U19 level on Friday (noon) which has been brought forward a day.

Then on Saturday there is an U17 clash with Newcastle United (11 am) at the Ipswich Town Training Centre, Rushmere.

Joe Royle said Bowditch may go back to academy fixtures.

Bowditch has written his name into the record books as part of a famous victory at Carrow Road. He is sure to be back.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter