Young Lions hero reflects on last gasp drama to seal semi-final spot.
England’s Matt Phillips was almost rendered speechless after scoring the goal that took his team into the semi-final of the European U19 Championship on Saturday.
Losing 1-0 to hosts France, the players on the pitch knew they had to find a goal to confirm their place in the last four with news of Austria’s late winner against Holland filtering through.
That meant a draw would see England as the second best team behind France in Group A so when substitute Phillips smashed home from close range after seeing his first header saved by France goalkeeper Abdoulaye Diallo, he was mobbed by team-mates.
“It was a great moment for me and the team, I’m delighted with the goal,” said Phillips after the game.
“Our aim has always been to progress from the group stages and now we’re into the semi-final so we’ll take it from here now.
“I just remember getting my head on it and when the ‘keeper saved it, I just didn’t have time to think and it came straight back to me and I just stuck it in.
“It was unbelievable.”
The Wycombe Wanderers man is one of the newest members of the squad having only won his first cap in the Elite Qualifying Round in May after impressing with his form for his club over the season.
But he has quickly adapted to the differences between domestic and international football and has become a popular member of the squad.
“It’s all been a great experience for me,” he added.
"To play alongside players who play for the biggest clubs and alongside the best players in the Premier League is a good experience for me.
“They have all been great ever since I’ve been with the squad and I’ve really felt a part of it all.”
Meanwhile, England have called up defender Scott Malone from the stand-by list to replace Matthew Briggs, who picked up a hamstring injury in the game with Austria and hasn’t been able to feature since.