Ward eyes England move

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

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 nothing short of meteoric, with the icing on the cake a senior debut tonight in a Lansdowne Road friendly with Sweden.

Bohemians forward Ward enhanced his burgeoning reputation with the only goal for the under-21s in last night’s friendly over their Swedish counterparts.

That made it three goals in the 20-year-old’s last three appearances at under-21 as he also scored against Finland and Portugal in the Madeira Tournament success last month.

And Ward, watched by Ipswich manager Joe Royle at Drogheda’s United Park, will have done 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.”

Ward, despite coming off late on with a groin injury, could not be happier at the way his form has progressed over the last few weeks.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym during the off season working on weights,” added Ward.

“I concentrated on bulking up and I put on a few pounds. Playing in the eircom League you don’t get much time on the ball so strength is invaluable.

“That has helped and after scoring in my last three games I’m feeling very confident at the moment.

“Playing in Madeira did my confidence the world of good as well. I played well, scored a few goals and with the team winning the tournament as well, we came back on a high and I feel my football has now improved.”

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