Andros' Euro aims
Nicholas Veevers in Donetsk
Friday, 24 July, 2009
U19s winger looking to build on his debut at the Euros for next season.
Tuesday’s game with Switzerland in Donetsk represented a big night for one member of the England U19s squad in the shape of winger Andros Townsend.
The Tottenham Hotspur ace, who only turned 18 a week ago, was introduced as a second half substitute for his U19s debut and whilst initially disappointed he couldn’t make a winning start, he was more than happy to be involved.
Having already represented the Young Lions at U16 and U17 level, Townsend is no stranger to the international scene but is now looking to make the further step up.
“It was a big move up for me from the U17s and it just feels a lot more important now,” he said, ahead of Friday’s game with Ukraine.
“I was in the squad for the Elite Qualifying Round in Sheffield a few months ago and whilst I didn’t really play which was a bit of a disappointment, it was a good experience just to be involved with the squad.
“But to come here and impress in training and then get 20 minutes against Switzerland was a big thing for me.”
With the scoreline so tight on Tuesday, the flying left-footer admits he never really got the chance to open up and attack the Swiss but that’s something he’s hoping to do should he get more opportunities here.
“The game was similar in style to what I’ve played before at U17 level, but because the score was 1-0 it wasn’t really about attacking,” he explained.
“I was getting shouts from the sidelines to go into more of a tight midfield four so I couldn’t really show what I could do in an attacking sense but hopefully I’ll get more game time over the rest of the tournament.
“Whilst we were disappointed not to win, when we saw the other result, ours wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been so we’ll take the positives from that and move on.”
The Young Lions are now preparing to go into battle with their hosts at the Olimpiyiski Stadium and are more than aware they’ll be up against a more hostile atmosphere from the home crowd, but Townsend feels that’s something England can use to their advantage.
“It’s a big game on Friday, but there’ll be more pressure on them to get the result so we need to go there and try to upset them and get an early goal,” he added.
“If we can do that, their crowd could start getting ratty and then we can go on from there.”
Townsend is also one of a number of the squad who are still a year young for U19 level so will be available to feature in next season’s squad.
Along with the likes of Matthew James, Nathan Delfouneso, Declan Rudd and Nile Ranger, Townsend finds himself in the same boat as squad members Jason Steele, Joe Mattock and Dan Gosling who all did the same in last year’s finals in Czech Republic and he believes the experience gained from a European Championship finals campaign is only going to help for the coming season.
“This is basically like a rehearsal for next season for me and hopefully I’ll be heavily involved,” he admitted.
“We’ll have a good squad next season too, so hopefully we can come this far again.
“There are a few of us in the squad who can play next year and I’d already played with most of them, but to come here and play with the older lads has been great as a lot of them are already first teamers at their clubs.”
And he is joined in Ukraine by Kyle Walker, who has just completed a transfer to White Hart Lane himself to become another of the growing group of promising young players at Spurs.
“I just heard that Kyle Walker is joining us, that’s good because he will be a decent signing for us,” he said.
“There’s a few good young players at Spurs now who have been involved with England, so it’s exciting times.
“A lot will be looking to go out on loan and get some experience and hopefully make an impression at the back end of next season and going into the one after.”
Remember, the match with Ukraine will be shown live on Eurosport, with a kick-off at 5,30pm BST.