Connor Wickham became the youngest ever player to play for Ipswich Town in April 2009, aged 16 years and 11 days. Since that time he has had to deal with a media fanfare as Fleet Street’s finest earmarked him as the next England wonderkid.
His meteoric rise to fame of course is also allied to fantastic natural ability which good judges will tell you he has shown in abundance both at Portman Road and while representing England at various youth levels. In 2010 he spearheaded England U17’s to European Championship glory, scoring the winner against Spain in the final and in the process picked up the tournament’s Golden Player award.
He has since gone on to feature for the U21s and has picked up a treble of awards in recent months for his displays for the Tractor Boys. These include the npower Championship Player of the Month for February, The Football League Young Player of the Year Award and the Championship‟s Apprentice Player of the Year.
With some of the Premier League’s top clubs reportedly circling for his signature in the summer Wickham is keen to concentrate on his football.
“I don’t really read the papers, I just see it if it comes on the news or TV or if my mates from school tell me,” said Wickham.
“I’m happy here, I signed a contract to keep me here another few years and that’s the way it is at the moment, I want to keep playing football at Ipswich Town.”
However while Ipswich boss Paul Jewell has expressed his delight at working with the level-headed lad, club legend Mick Mills has compared Wickham to Liverpool’s £35million pound man Andy Carroll. Mills, who played 591 times for the Tractor Boys and also represented England on 42 occasions, said:
“Players of Connor’s stature are hard to come by, the sort of striker who can lead the line so effectively.
“Connor is in the mould of Andy Carroll, a big, powerful striker who is very mobile. They are short in supply.”
And Jewell himself admits it will be hard to hang on to teenage forward.
“I am hopeful he will stay but, lets be honest, we are all at the mercy of the big clubs. If Liverpool or Tottenham come in with money that is going to help us plough back into the team – silly money if you like – we have to listen to it.”
He went on, “Personally, I think it would be best for him to stay here for another year, hopefully get us some goals and into the Premier League. But it is going to be difficult for any club at this level to turn down a big offer from one of the top teams.”
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