Joe calls for Bow to put England on hold

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle wants boy wonder Dean Bowditch to put club before country.Royle has already spoken with England Under-18 coach Martin Hunter about the possibility of strike star Bowditch being released from international duty next week.

IPSWICH boss Joe Royle wants boy wonder Dean Bowditch to put club before country.

Royle has already spoken with England Under-18 coach Martin Hunter about the possibility of strike star Bowditch being released from international duty next week.

The 17-year-old from Harlow became the youngest-ever Ipswich player to score a hat-trick when he helped to gun down Watford at Portman Road on Saturday.

Not surprisingly, he has been named in England's squad for an under-18 friendly against Belgium at the Sixfields Stadium in Northampton next Wednesday.

Bowditch has also been placed on stand-by for the under-19 squad ahead of next Tuesday's friendly against Germany in Celle.

But Royle, with Town's push for a play-off place uppermost in his mind, is clearly anxious to protect his young ace from being over-used.

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He plans a further chat with Hunter to see if he would be prepared to sanction Bowditch's release, leaving him free to concentrate on club fixtures.

Royle said: "We need to look at the situation carefully and I expect I will be speaking to Martin about Dean in the next couple of days to see how he feels about it."

England have another under-18 friendly fixed for April 29, when Sweden will provide the opposition at York City's Bootham Crescent ground, and Ipswich may also look to pull him out of that one if they remain in the thick of the promotion battle.

Meanwhile, Hunter has lavished praise on Bowditch after his scoring exploits earned him the FA's Young Lion of the Weekend accolade.

He said: "Dean first came into the Team England set-up in October 2001 at the age of 15 and it was clear that he was an exciting prospect.

"As with all young players, it was clear that he had to work on areas of his game and that the mental, as well as the physical, preparations would play an important part of his development.

"This season Dean has really broken into the first team squad at Ipswich and is highly thought of by Joe Royle, where the club are nurturing his talent and bringing him on.

"His exploits on Saturday were not unexpected by those who have worked with Dean, but now he will have new challenges in front of him, as defenders will certainly be more aware of the danger he can cause."

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