Sheffield Wednesday: Wickham targets England call-up

Connor Wickham celebrates his goal in a 2-0 New Year's Day win against Blackpool, with Liam Palmer and Atdhe Nuhiu
Connor Wickham celebrates his goal in a 2-0 New Year's Day win against Blackpool, with Liam Palmer and Atdhe Nuhiu
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Connor Wickham hopes to follow in the footsteps of Ross Barkley by landing an England spot in the aftermath of a successful loan spell with the Owls.

Wickham has also praised Wednesday for giving him the chance of regular first-team football.

After returning to Sunderland he helped them to stay up by scoring five goals and was voted the Premier League’s April Player of the Month.

With Everton’s Barkley heading for this summer’s World Cup finals, Wickham has ambitions about breaking into Roy Hodgson’s set-up in the longer term.

“Next season maybe,” says the 21-year-old. “It’s my aim for next season if I can do well and be in that team (Sunderland’s) from the start. Eventually I’d like that call-up before the season is up.”

Wickham also said in FourFourTwo magazine that the Owls helped to restore his confidence.

Stuart Gray revealed recently that the player’s agent had rung the club to say thank you for what they had done for him.

Wickham says: “I was accepted by Sheffield Wednesday straight away; by the players, the staff and the fans. It really helped my confidence, and I felt like I was welcomed everywhere I went. That proves on the pitch that I was doing well, and that boosts your confidence game by game.

“I think I just have to stay confident in myself. I’ve always remained that way even when I wasn’t playing, because I knew that if I got my chance I’d be able to do it.

“It didn’t happen that way at Sunderland initially so I went to Wednesday and did it there. I proved to people that I am still about and able to play, and thankfully the manager asked me back to do a job in the Premier League.

“Being in the Premier League for two years but having only been on loan and come on every now and again, people did start doubting me saying I wasn’t good enough. But I always knew I was; I just needed a chance. This manager gave me one and I proved people wrong.”

His goals came against Manchester City, Chelsea and relegation rivals Cardiff, as Sunderland pulled off a great escape.

Barkley and Wickham both had loan spells at Leeds but made a much bigger impact at Hillsborough.

With eight goals in 11 games, Wickham will always be regarded as one of the Owls’ stars of 2013-14.