Nydam: England All the Way
Thursday, 12th Oct 2017 16:43
Tristan Nydam has pledged his allegiance to England as the Town youngster looks to progress his career and add to the U18 and U19 caps he has already won.
Born in Zimbabwe, Nydam is adamant that he only wants to represent his adopted England.
The 17-year-old’s Dutch surname also led to his qualification for Holland being investigated during his time in the academy - Town-supporting Dutch journalist Tom van Hulsen, author of Game Changers, having picked up on the possibility of Nydam wearing the famous orange shirt - but the link to his ancestry in the Netherlands wasn’t close enough.
He said: “Going forward it’s going to be England and the three Lions. I was born in Zimbabwe and lived there until I was seven when we moved over here.
“It was all very different there – I played football every night after school and there was plenty of space to do it. It’s a bit more condensed here and the lifestyle is more fast-paced compared to Zimbabwe.
“My mum moved over here and we all moved with her. I was playing Sunday League football for a team called Brooklands when Ipswich spotted me.
“My brother Miguel was the first to be scouted and then me. We were both in the academy for a time but he’s more into coaching these days.
“Miguel was here for two or three years but didn’t get offered a scholarship. He was trying to find another club but couldn’t, so now he’s moved into coaching a bit more. He works at Wivenhoe and in some schools.
“There was a bit of rivalry between us when we were growing up. He used to bully me when we were playing football – every game I used to lose to him and probably still would now.
“We have a younger brother as well and we both try to drive him on, although he has none of it.”
When it comes to role models Nydam looks no further than ex-England skipper Steven Gerrard, adding: “I wasn’t a Liverpool fan but I was a fan of their captain. Gerrard always stood out for me. I watched him from a very early age and the way he went about his game and how professional he was made we want to be that type of player.
“Gerrard scored his fair share of goals as well and I’d like to add that to my game because I think it’s a massive part of the game. We need to add goals from midfield and hopefully I can do that.”
Nydam went into the season having won an England cap at U18 level and earned U19 recognition last month in a 7-1 defeat of Poland. However, his hopes of adding further U19 honours – he was in the squad for the recent games against the Czech Republic and Slovakia – were dashed by injury.
He explained: “I had a bit of a groin strain but I’m fine now. I’ve been training this week. I’m hoping to play at Sheffield United on Saturday and then in the derby against Norwich the following weekend.
“I’ve been with Ipswich since I was nine and even at the younger age levels it was something special to be playing against Norwich. To be involved against them in front of a big crowd and live on Sky would be a massive experience for me.
“But the gaffer has already explained to all the younger lads that it will be a season of ups and downs, playing and then not playing, and I think we’ll all deal with that.
“The gaffer has been great with us, putting his trust in us, and we’re all pleased with him. I have a great relationship with him but he has that with all the players to be fair.”
If Gerrard has been an inspiration, the same applies to ex-Town and England favourite Kieron Dyer, who has been involved in the academy set-up since the end of his playing career, the Blues’ U16 coach having jokingly referred to Nydam as ‘Tristan Dyer’ in a TWTD interview earlier this year.
“I think I’m a similar type of player to Kieron,” said Nydam. “He worked hard and had a great engine, and I think I’m the same. Kieron’s been a massive help to me over the last couple of years since I first met him. Ever since then he’s been great with me.”
Nydam, along with Dozzell, Downes and others, has also found that Town not being a Category One club at academy level has been no handicap to his progress.
He added: “I wasn’t aware of any Category One clubs being interested in signing me but I saw players coming through here – Teddy [Bishop], Myles [Kenlock] and Josh [Emmanuel] – and that told me that this club, and the gaffer, were prepared to put their trust in young players as long as they were good enough.
“When I’ve been with the England U19 squad most of the others are still playing U23 level at the Category One clubs so for me to be playing first team football is a real bonus.”
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