Ambrose selected on merit - Taylor

PETER Taylor today insisted that Darren Ambrose has been picked to play for England Under-21s against Moldova tonight on merit not sentiment.The England boss praised Ambrose's goal threat but also admitted he would have liked to have been able to partner him with Darren Bent.

By Derek Davis

PETER Taylor today insisted that Darren Ambrose has been picked to play for England Under-21s against Moldova tonight on merit not sentiment.

The England boss praised Ambrose's goal threat but also admitted he would have liked to have been able to partner him with Darren Bent.

Taylor said: “It will be a special night for Darren Ambrose to go back to Portman Road but the fact he used to play for Ipswich has no bearing on my decision to play him. Darren has scored some important goals for the under-21s and has done very well, so it has nothing to do with sentiment he is there purely on ability.

“It would be perfect for him to go back and score a cracker from the edge of the area, as we know he can do.

“But then Ipswich fans will know more about Darren's goals than me probably.”

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Ambrose, who has netted twice in ten appearances for the under-21s, has forged a

special bond with Bent at Ipswich, England and now Charlton Athletic and will miss not having his close pal with him at Portman Road.

He said: “Darren was really looking forward to playing here again and with England. He is obviously pleased to be called into the senior squad, but is a bit disappointed at not playing here.

“It would have been great if we had have played together like old times, me passing to him and Benty scoring.

“I'm looking forward to going back to my old stamping ground.

“We had a very good youth side, we won the reserve league and I made senior appearances there too, so it will always be special for me.”

While Taylor tasted victory at Portman Road just ten days ago with Crystal Palace, the ground has been a lucky venue for England who have won three previous European qualifying matches there, a full international and an Under-19s friendly against Germany.Taylor said: “Portman Road is a real football ground and can create a great atmosphere.

“We are hoping for a good crowd to really get behind us.”

Taylor has capped seven Ipswich players at England Under-21 level - Richard Wright, Kieron Dyer, James Scowcroft, Titus Bramble, Darren Bent, Darren Ambrose and Matt Richards, while also calling Ian Westlake and David Johnson into squads.

England squad: Alnwick (Sunderland), Camp (Derby), Carson (Liverpool), Baines (Wigan), Davies (WBA), A Ferdinand (West Ham), Hoyte (Arsenal) Richards (Man City), Onuoha (Man City), A Taylor (M'Boro), S Taylor (Newcastle), Ambrose (Charlton), Bentley (Blackburn), Huddlestone (Spurs), Milner (Newcastle), Reo-Coker (West Ham), Routledge (Spurs), Soares (Palace), Watson (Palace), Bent (Charlton), Jerome (Birmingham City), Nugent (PNE), Walcott (Arsenal).

Tonight's European Qualifying game against Moldova Under-21s is NOT all-ticket and England supporters can pay at turnstiles, with an 8pm kick off.

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