Tommy set to make beeline for Brentford

IPSWICH Town's World Cup final-bound defender Tommy Smith is poised to join League One Brentford on loan.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town's World Cup final-bound defender Tommy Smith is poised to join League One Brentford on loan.

And he is looking to follow in the footsteps of Pim Balkestein, who did well in the Bees defence until he was recalled from Griffin Park last week.

Strikers Dean Bowditch, Billy Clarke and Jordan Rhodes were all taken on by Brentford manager Andy Scott last season - with Smith looking as though he will be the next to make the journey from Suffolk to west London.

Liam Trotter trained with Ipswich yesterday but has agreed to join Millwall on a month's loan, and Smith is about to follow him temporarily out of Portman Road.

Moving to Brentford will give Smith a chance to play regular first-team football and the 19-year-old explained his reasons for opting to play for New Zealand rather than England.

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He is expected to be in the All Whites squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa this summer.

“I feel some loyalty to New Zealand because they gave me a lot of my football education when I spent part of my youth there,” said Smith.

“I got into the game down there and I know New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert from my time there. He was my coach when I was in the national development squad for three years before I crossed the world to join Ipswich.

“Ricki asked me if I wanted to get involved with the national team and I'm happy to do that. The gaffer here said that it won't affect my chances with Ipswich and told me if I'm fully committed, then I should go for it.”

Smith spent eight years living down under before joining Ipswich's academy in 2006.

“New Zealand made contact in December but I wanted some time to talk it over with my parents and also the manager here,” added Smith, who has won England caps at Under-18 level.

“Obviously it's a great opportunity for me to play in the World Cup and not many players have that chance.

“But I know I've got a long way to go yet to show Ricki that I'm worth a place in his squad.

“I will also have to win over the other players. If I get picked, I will be taking someone's place so I know I've got to show them I deserve that place. Hopefully I can do that with my performances.

“We've got a friendly against Mexico in Los Angeles in March and I'm hoping to be involved and start to impress everyone from there.”

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