Westlake: Goal rush shows I was right

IAN Westlake admitted he felt vindicated at turning down England to concentrate on getting his form back for Ipswich Town.

IAN Westlake admitted he felt vindicated at turning down England to concentrate on getting his form back for Ipswich Town, writes Derek Davis.

The Blues midfielder took his season's goal tally to five as Ipswich stormed to a two-goal lead at Watford only to be pegged back for a draw.

Westlake also played a part in setting up Darren Bent for his first Town goal in seven games.

The 20-year-old recently asked not to take part in Peter Taylor's England Under-21 squad that played European Championship qualifiers against Wales and Azerbaijan, as he wanted to focus on regaining his Blues form.


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Westlake appreciated he had not been performing at the level which had seen him become an established regular last season.

A goal against Leicester after 40 seconds on Tuesday and another at Vicarage Road indicate he is getting back to those high standards.

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Westlake said: “I do feel the decision has been vindicated. Some people gave me a bit of stick for not going with England but I knew I was not playing at my best.

“I needed to stay at Ipswich and focus on regaining my form. I'm glad I did because I have felt much like my old self in the last couple of games.”

The Clacton lad played an unfortunate part in Watford's equaliser after being booked for a foul which led to the free kick and subsequent Hameur Bouazza follow up, after Lewis Price spilled a Neal Ardley shot.

He said: “Lewis was very unfortunate as he was unsighted when the ball came in. He has down brilliantly for us lately so he doesn't deserve any stick. He is a strong lad and will bounce back anyway.”

The Blues had failed to register goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes in time for him to replace Shane Supple, who broke a toe in the reserves' defeat at Charlton last Wednesday.

Richard Naylor would have taken over between the sticks if anything had happened to Price. As it was the Town keeper was in more danger of getting hypothermia than an injury in the first 20 minutes when Watford enjoyed possession but no cutting edge.

More than 3,200 Blues fans braved the wind and rain in Watford's biggest gate of the season, to see their side go two up before a double substitution for the Hornets after Ipswich had withdrawn Pablo Counago inspired their comeback with Heidar Helguson and Hameur Bouazza both scoring with six minutes.

Westlake said: “We played really well and deserved to win. But we got a bit carried away and instead of tightening things up we allowed them to win set pieces.

“Both of their goals were really scruffy affairs as far as we are concerned.

“We have been doing well lately but silly goals have been costing us points.”

n Dean Bowditch, who went on as a substitute at Watford, is once again expected to lead the reserves' attack when they take on Southampton tonight at Portman Road, kick off 7pm.

derek.davis@eadt.co.uk

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