Boro youngster Bryn Morris is aiming for Euro qualification with England U17s
Click here for ticket details for the St. George's Park International Tournament
England v Italy
St. George’s Park International U17 Tournament
7pm, Wednesday 29 August 2012
Pirelli Stadium, Burton Albion FC
Tickets are priced £3 for adults and £1 for concessions
by Glenn Lavery
England’s U17s will this week aim to defend a trophy their predecessors have won for the past two seasons, but midfielder Bryn Morris wants to use the upcoming matches as preparation for October’s Euro qualifiers.
The Middlesbrough youngster is in line to feature against Italy on Wednesday in England’s opening match of the St. George’s Park International Tournament and although he is itching to get going Morris knows the real test will come in Estonia in the First Qualifying Round for next summer’s European Championship Finals.
“I can’t wait for the season to get started,” he said.
“We had all last year together so we know each other fairly well now. It's also the first time most of us will have played for England this season so it will be good to get going again.
“I think this tournament will be a really good test for us,” he continued, “especially if they all play like their senior sides do. We haven’t faced any of these three teams yet so it will be good to experience different styles of play.
“We have played in a few tournaments already but it would be good to get the results when they matter most and we all want to get to the European Finals.
“We have got a good team and we haven’t lost inside 90 minutes yet so I’d expect us to do really well this year.”
As he alluded to above, Morris and his England colleagues already have some experience of international football having played for Kenny Swain’s U16s last season. Morris turned out seven times for the Young Lions last year, across the Victory Shield and the Montaigu Tournament, and he is fully aware of the importance of international tournament football to his own development.
“For me personally, I have learnt to adapt to different scenarios a lot quicker,” he explained.
“In Montaigu last year I played centre midfield in the first game, two days later I was centre back and then I was back to centre midfield so I had to change my game in a short space of time and I think I managed it quite well.
“But it wasn't just me, all the players had to learn to be versatile and that's obviously a good thing for us in the long run. You also realise how important it is to recover quickly after matches because of the quick turnaround.”
Morris is the latest in a long line of Middlesbrough men to play for the England youth teams and the Hartlepool-born 16-year-old hopes to one day follow in the footsteps of Stewart Downing and Adam Johnson and make his mark at senior level.
Lee Cattermole, Jason Steele and Joe Bennett are other notable Boro youngsters who have starred for England at various levels, while Under-21 midfielder Josh McEachran has recently joined the Teessiders on a season-long loan from Chelsea.
“It is always good to have role models to look up to, especially at your own club. And people like Steeley always look out for you at training and around the club,” said Morris.
“I hadn’t seen Josh play that much before he joined but he looks a very good player. The day he signed for us I was watching the first team train and he took on three players with his first few touches of the ball.
“It is good to have players like Josh around, both for his quality in the first team and for the younger players to look up to and give us the motivation to push on.”