Lee's sympathy for snubbed Bent

ALAN Lee today reflected on his international recall and admitted: “I owe it all to Ipswich.”

ALAN Lee today reflected on his international recall and admitted: “I owe it all to Ipswich.”

The 27-year-old Town striker is in the Republic of Ireland squad for their friendly against Chile at Lansdowne Road, Dublin, on May 24.

Lee has been included in new boss Steve Staunton's 29-man squad that will train for four days in Portugal prior to the clash with the South Americans.

He said: “I am obviously very pleased, although it's not a total surprise. I thought I'd have a chance because my name was mentioned before the last game, but I was injured at the time.”

Lee's aim is to score his first international goal after winning eight senior caps, most of them in brief appearances as a substitute.

He added: “The move to Ipswich has been tremendous for me and when you do well for a club like that it means a lot.

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“It has clearly been a major factor in me being recalled to the Irish squad and I am very grateful to Joe Royle and the club.”

Lee made an instant impact after Royle paid Cardiff £100,000 to bring him to Portman Road in January, netting four times in his first six games.

But he was troubled by hamstring and groin problems towards the end of the season as Ipswich's play-off challenge fizzled out.

He said: “I feel good at the moment. The hamstring is fine and I'm going to start running, and I'll have a day with the physio just to make sure things are OK.

“I'm down in Cardiff at the moment. The removal men are taking everything out of my place down here and that means I'll be able to get into my new place near Ipswich.

“When the transfer came about I just stuffed the car and got myself up there, and I've only been back once between January and now.”

Lee also took time to express sympathy for ex-Town favourite Darren Bent, who was surprisingly excluded from England boss Sven Goran Eriksson's squad for next month's World Cup.

He added: “I really feel sorry for Benty that after a season like he's had in the Premiership there isn't room for him.

“It's a peculiar situation that Sven has brought in young Theo Walcott. To my knowledge he hasn't even played a Premiership game yet.

“I was talking about it last night to Cameron Jerome, the Cardiff striker, and he couldn't believe it either.

“Cameron had heard that Sven was spending time watching Arsenal in training and now we know why. He must have seen something, somewhere, to pick Walcott.

“But it's bad luck on Benty. He scored 22 goals for Charlton and couldn't have done much more to press his claims.”