Town's Academy should take a bow
IPSWICH Town's academy - and all those involved with it - should take a bow today.Already widely respected for the seemingly endless conveyor belt of talented players it produces, the sale of Darren Bent from Charlton to Tottenham has put the icing on the cake.
By Elvin King
IPSWICH Town's academy - and all those involved with it - should take a bow today.
Already widely respected for the seemingly endless conveyor belt of talented players it produces, the sale of Darren Bent from Charlton to Tottenham has put the icing on the cake.
To develop a player from a raw gangling 14-year-old into one worth the equivalent of the fabulous Thierry Henry is some feat.
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And Bent, who notched 55 goals in 142 first team appearances for Town - and helped the Under-18's reach the FA Youth Cup semi-final - realises his good fortune in being spotted by a Blues scout.
The 23-year-old said: “I had a great upbringing in the game at Ipswich and the club is still very close to my heart.
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“I could not have asked for a better education and start in the game than the one I got at Ipswich.
“I am glad the club has prospered from my move. I hope the money will help Ipswich get back into the Premiership.”
Town could receive up to £2.7m out of Bent's move to Spurs as part of the sell-on clause when he left Portman Road for the Valley for £2.6m plus two £100,000 appearance payments two years ago.
It was Barry Kettlewell who first spotted Bent on the playing fields of Cambridgeshire.
The Town scout said: “I first saw Darren playing for Godmanchester Rovers Under-13s. He stood out with his pace and cleverness but what really swung it was he could score goals. I watched him play in a final and they won 8-4 with Darren scoring seven.
“I recommended him to Malcolm Moore at Ipswich and he joined the Academy at 14.
“Darren was a very focused lad even then although nowhere near the finished article. The Ipswich Town Academy turned him into what he is today.
“He has worked hard and off the pitch he is a very clean-living lad and really enthusiastic and bubbly.”
Kettlewell, who lives in Newmarket, is still discovering talent for the Blues with Craig Calver his latest gem being polished by the Academy looking to push through the Under-18' and into the reserves.
The aerospace worker said: “I'm just one of a number of scouts all looking to help Ipswich and it is a very proud feeling when you see someone like Darren go on and succeed.”