Defender chats about his goal, Euro experience and World Cup hopes.
By Nicholas Veevers in Novi Sad.
England defender Brad Smith
admits the experience of a European Championship this season has only whetted the appetite for more, in the shape of next month’s FIFA U17 World Cup.
The Liverpool left-back has played a major role in England’s qualification for the semi-finals here in Serbia and in turn, the World Cup and it was his opening goal against the hosts on Monday that set his team on their way to a 3-0 victory.
The goal itself has seen Smith receive no end of ribbing from his team-mates since then, as he struck home from a tight angle after an over-lapping rampage on the left prompting debate as to Smith's initial intention. So, was it a shot or a cross?
“It was a cross, I admit, but it looked like a shot so I was delighted,” he smiled.
“It’s always good to score for England and being a full-back, that’s my first, so I was delighted.
“It was a great result for us. We didn’t start well in the tournament, but we managed to push through and we’ve made the semi-final.
“Our first aim was just to win the game on Monday and get to the World Cup, which was what we wanted to do.
“So when the result came in from the other match, that was a bonus for us and now we can’t wait to play Holland.
“I’ve been watching a couple of the Holland games when they’ve been on here, and they look like a decent team.
“We’ll watch a few DVDs and make sure that we’re prepared and ready for the game.”
Smith’s first international experience only came in March too, when he was picked for the Elite Qualifying Round in Belgium where he quickly became an integral part of the squad as England won three games out of three to reach the last eight here.
Having played in all three matches here, he admits that it’s been a great learning curve to take back to Anfield for the new season.
“It’s been a really good experience for me, first out in Belgium and now in the Finals,” he added.
“And to get the chance to go to the World Cup is even better, that is going to be a tremendous experience for us and we’re all looking forward to it and obviously playing for our places now.”
Smith has certainly had no trouble settling into the squad either, as he’s been joined in the group at various stages by club mates Adam Morgan
, Jack Dunn
, Matty Regan
and Raheem Sterling
, although the latter pair have had to return to Anfield with knocks after being named in the initial 18-man squad for the finals.
“It’s always good to have people from your club along, to help you settle and everything,” he added.
“And to have a few mates around helps, so it’s been easy to settle into the group and I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience.”