Town move can help my World Cup dream

ASMIR Begovic is set to be in the Ipswich Town starting line-up when they face Swansea City in the Championship at Portman Road tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

Elvin King


ASMIR Begovic is set to be in the Ipswich Town starting line-up when they face Swansea City in the Championship at Portman Road tomorrow (kick-off 3pm).

The 22-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina international keeper trained with his team mates for the first time yesterday and is in line to replace Richard Wright between the posts.

The 6ft 5in Portsmouth player, who has joined Ipswich on a three-month loan, wants to figure in the world cup qualifying play-offs for Bosnia next month, and to do that he knows he needs to be playing games.

And he is more likely to do that with Ipswich than Pompey where England's evergreen star David James is showing no sign of losing his touch.

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“There are two more experienced goalkeepers ahead of me (in the Bosnia squad),” said Begovic last night. “But there is no accepted number one, and obviously the more first team games I play the better chance I have of gaining the attention of the coach.”

Begovic played for Canada at all youth levels up to Under-20, but has now opted for Bosnia where he was born until his family left the then war-torn country to move to Germany when he was five.

He made his full debut as a 92nd minute substitute in last Saturday's win over Estonia that secured second place in the world cup group behind Spain.

“I was excused the midweek match against Spain so that I could come back to England and complete my loan move to Ipswich,” added Begovic, who emigrated to Canada with his family from Germany before joining the Pompey academy aged 16.

“I was told of Ipswich's interest last week and although not in a very good league position at the moment the club sells itself.

“It was too good an opportunity to turn down, and my intention is to play first team football during my stay.

“It is up to the manager and it is too early to say whether I will play on Saturday. I will know tomorrow.”

Begovic, who has had loan spells at Yeovil and Macclesfield, confirmed his overall intention is to oust James as the number one at Portsmouth.

“I have been unlucky to run into him,” said Begovic. “It is to my credit that I've managed to break into the first team scene at Fratton Park.

“I'm basically settled at the club although I made it known to manager Paul Hart that if I wasn't playing regularly I would like to go out on loan again.”

If Wright is dropped to the bench it will be the first time he will have been left out of a league match since his return to Portman Road in the summer of 2008. He has struggled to find his best form in recent weeks with Town conceding 15 goals in their last six games.

“I trained with Richard (Wright) today and know what a good player he is,” added Begovic, who was on the bench when Portsmouth beat Town 1-0 in the FA Cup at Portman Road in January 2008.

Town manager Roy Keane must make the decision whether to play Begovic tomorrow, and he said: “People have spoke highly of Asmir and he is very positive about coming here and playing games.

“That's what you want to hear from players. I'm delighted he's with us.

“When Shane Supple retired it left us a bit light. We brought in Arran Lee-Barrett but I have always liked three keepers.

“It creates a bit more competition among the players and Asmir has come in to push the other two and try and force his way into the first team.”