Ward looking to Doyle for inspiration

STEPHEN WARD would like to follow in the footsteps of inspirational Republic of Ireland striker Kevin Doyle and play in English football.

Very few Reading fans had heard of Doyle when manager Steve Coppell paid reigning eircom League champions Cork City £80,000 (€117,000) for his services last June.

But the 22-year-old has scored 13 goals in the Royals’ bid for promotion to the Barclays Premiership this season.

Doyle’s rise has been meteoric, leading to a senior debut in last night’s Lansdowne Road friendly with Sweden.

Bohemians forward Ward enhanced his burgeoning reputation with the only goal for the U21s in last night’s friendly over their Swedish counterparts.

That made it three goals in the 20-year-old’s last three appearances at U21 as he also scored against Finland and Portugal in the Madeira Tournament success last month.

Ward, watched by Ipswich manager Joe Royle at Drogheda’s United Park, did his prospects of a move to England no harm.

“You always want to go where you can challenge yourself and England is as good as it gets,” said Ward.

“I would love to go over and give it a try but I’m contracted with Bohs for another two years and I’m just looking forward to the new season starting now.

“You never know what could happen though. Look at Kevin Doyle. He is an inspiration to everyone who plays in the eircom League, and shown just what is possible.

“He has done superbly well since joining Reading and now he is in the senior squad as well. He gives everyone hope.”

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