Striker Rhys Murphy says the Young Lions are looking onwards and upwards this season.
International U19 Friendly
7.45pm, Tuesday 9 September 2008
The Prostar Stadium, Shrewsbury Town FC
Live on Setanta
After suffering a season fraught by injury last time around, England U19 striker Rhys Murphy put all of that frustration behind him on Tuesday evening when his two goals saw the Young Lions pick up a good win against the Netherlands.
The Arsenal ace was a key member of the England U17s squad which did so well in both the European Championship and World Cup two seasons ago, but he missed out on involvement with the U19s last season and spent nearly six months on the sidelines.
He’s back to fitness and form now though and proved his worth against the Dutch with a pair of quickfire goals in the second half to secure victory for Brian Eastick’s men.
“It’s great to score two goals for your country and it’s great to win,” he told TheFA.com following the game.
“That’s what we came here to do, get into good habits and both of the goals were from great build up play so it was a pleasing night.”
England had fallen behind somewhat unfortunately in the first half, but when Murphy levelled things up midway through the second half, the Lions didn’t have to wait much longer before they took a deserved lead.
“It seemed really quick,” revealed the 17-year-old.
“I scored the first and was pleased with that and then I just happened to be in the right position at the right time to score another one. It was a great cross in from Victor (Moses) for the second goal and for the first, it was a great ball through from Kieran (Trippier) after a good move.
“It was just left for me to finish and that’s my job and we won the game from it, which was good.”
The team had to show their character and determination too, after earlier seeing the visitors edge ahead on the stroke of half time when the previous 40 minutes had seen England enjoy the better of the possession and the chances.
“It was disappointing to go behind, their lad took the goal very well, but it was a bit fortunate really,” he added.
“We felt we’d played well in the first half and deserved to be level at least, but we came in a goal behind.
“The manager told us to move the ball a bit quicker and to step up a gear, even though we were doing well. I think we did that.
“We also defended well in the last 20 minutes when we were under a bit of pressure and got the win, so it’s good.”
The Young Lions now turn their attentions to the first set of qualifiers for next summer’s European U19 Championship which will be held in Ukraine.
England travel to Belfast in October where they will face Northern Ireland, Albania and Serbia before hopefully progressing to the Elite Round next year.
Many of the squad who did so well alongside Murphy as U17s are now involved again, so everyone is hoping that they can go on and improve further, after reaching the final of the Euros and the quarter final of the World Cup last summer.
“We did well two seasons ago and got to the World Cup and the final of the Euros,” recalled Murphy.
“We were unfortunate to lose to Germany in World Cup and Spain in the Euros, but we need to push on now this season. The boys all know each other well and we all get along.
“For me personally, last season was a really bad season with injuries but that’s gone now and I’m hoping to push on now this year with both club and country.”
England: Jason Steele, Kieran Trippier, Lee Hills (Matthew Briggs, 78) Jack Rodwell (Michael Woods, 46) Krystian Pearce, Gavin Hoyte, Jonathan Franks (Jay Thomas, 60) Henri Lansbury (c), Daniel Welbeck, Rhys Murphy, Victor Moses (Medy Elito, 73).
Subs not used: Ben Amos.
Netherlands: Leonard Nienhuis, Ridny Cairo, Mart Dijkstra (Kaj Ramsteijn, 46) Jeffrey Nuland (Rico Wolven, 46) Partick van Aanholt (Kay Velda, 51) Marco Vejinovic (c), Nacer Barazite, Ben Rienstra (Richard Stolte, 46) Genero Zeefuik (Lars Hutten, 77) Georginio Wijnaldum, Luciano Narsingh (Soufiane Dadda, 72)
Subs not used: Jeroen Zoet.
Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistant Referees: Andy Newbold & Nick Hobbis
Fourth Official: Dean Mohareb