Matthias Fanimo wants to bring his club form into Northern Ireland game
England U16 v Northern Ireland
Sky Sports Victory Shield
7.40pm, Thursday 5 November 2009
Deva Stadium, Chester CIty FC
Tickets are priced £3 for adults and £1 for concessions
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England U16s are currently preparing for their second match in the Victory Shield, against Northern Ireland this evening, and West Ham forward, Matthias Fanimo, is hoping to carry his club form onto the international stage.
Fanimo has scored 12 goals in just eight Academy matches this season, his first campaign as an out-and-out forward. Throughout his fledgling career Fanimo has been employed predominantly on the right wing, but he started up front for England against Wales last month and was named Man of the Match for his performance.
"I was happy with the way I played against Wales,” he reflected. “I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t score but the main thing was that we won the game.
“Hopefully I’ll have another good game against Northern Ireland and maybe I can get myself on the scoresheet this time. Before the Wales game I set myself a target - I wanted to score five goals to equal Michael Owen’s record in this competition. It’s going to be very difficult now, but I’ll give it my best shot.”
Fanimo is currently enjoying his second Victory Shield campaign, having come off the bench in the final match against Scotland last season, where he was then an apprehensive 14-year-old. However, coupled with his starring role against the Welsh, he hopes his international experience will help his new England team-mates flourish in Chester.
“I’d tell them to forget about the crowd,” Fanimo said, when asked what advice he’d give to any potential U16 debutants.
“Because I was in their shoes last year I know what it’s like. Once the game starts you really don’t notice the crowd and you just get on with your normal game, so there’s no real need to worry about the crowd beforehand."
And looking specifically at Thursday's encounter the young Hammer is fully focused on claiming three more Victory Shield points.
“A win would be nice,” he admitted.
“I know this game finished 6-0 last year and the Northern Ireland players will probably want to get revenge, but I thought we played well against Wales, especially in the second half, and if we can play like that again I think we’ve got a good chance.
“It’s another game that I’m really looking forward to.”