Nicholls ready for U19s bow
Monday, 07 February, 2011
Goalkeeper hoping to finally land an England cap on Tuesday.
One man in the U19 squad who has waited longer than most for an England cap is goalkeeper Lee Nicholls, who will be hoping to finally make his first appearance for the Three Lions in Tuesday's game with Germany.
The 18-year-old was part of Noel Blake’s squad which reached the semi-final of last year’s European Championship in France whilst still a year younger than most of his team-mates, but with the form of Declan Rudd between the sticks keeping him out of the side, it was a frustrating spell for the big Liverpudlian.
He was then named in Blake’s squad to face Slovakia last September, the first game of the 2010-11 campaign, but had to withdraw through injury which also kept him out of the Euro qualifiers in Belgium last October.
Now, he’s back in the squad and hoping to stake his claim for a spot in the Elite Round games in May with a solid performance at the B2net Stadium.
“I’m pleased to be back in the squad, and it’ll be nice to get a cap if I can,” revealed the Wigan Athletic man.
“I’m looking forward to the game. I’m sure it will be a good standard and there will be a lot of competition out there. It’ll be interesting.
“To be honest, in the summer with the U19s in the European Championships, it was very frustrating for me because I never played.
“Hopefully though, I’ll be able to kick-on from now and get a couple of caps this season.”
However, the trip to Normandy for the Euros was Nicholls’ first taste of life with the England squad and it is something which he readily admits was a worthwhile experience and something to draw upon.
“It was a good experience to go to the Championships, because I learnt a lot over there about myself both as a footballer and as a person,” he explained.
“I had to teach myself to be a lot more patient as a footballer. You’re away from home for a while, with time between games to think about things.
“It was frustrating not to play, but being away there and being involved in the training helped my confidence and in my personality as well."
The full interview with Lee can be read in the official match programme for the game, which can be ordered here.