Blackpool forward can't wait for trip to Colombia.
FIFA U20 World Cup
29 July - 20 August 2011
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Click here for World Cup match schedule
By Nicholas Veevers
England U20s ace Matt Phillips
and his squad mates meet up today as they begin the build-up to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Colombia later this month.Brian Eastick’s squad
all head to Hertfordshire on Thursday ahead of flying out to the USA for a ten day training camp in order to acclimatise and prepare for what they will face in South America.
For Blackpool starlet Phillips, it’s just an experience he can’t wait to sample, after scoring the goal which sealed England’s place in the World Cup last summer.
Phillips was part of the U19 squad which reached the Semi-Final of the European Championships
in Normandy and it was his last-gasp strike against France
which ensured the Young Lions finished in Europe’s top six to register their place in the U20 World Cup.
That was nearly a year ago, so it’s been a long time waiting for Phillips and the likes of Dean Parrett
, Lee Nicholls
, Nathan Baker
, Reece Brown
and Ryan Noble
who were also in last season’s U19 squad as well as the group for the World Cup.
“At any level, a World Cup is massive,” admitted Phillips.
“So to go away and get an experience like this will be amazing and a highlight in anyone’s career.
“It’s going to be a massive experience for us all.”
At the time of World Cup qualification last July, Phillips was still plying his trade with his first club Wycombe Wanderers before he moved on to Blackpool after the team’s return to England.
He went on to become a regular in Ian Holloway’s Seasiders squad last season, as they went through their first Premier League campaign.
It unfortunately ended in relegation, but despite that, Phillips believes it has helped to improve him as a footballer.
“Playing in the Premier League has been a little like international football for me,” he explained. “It’s definitely helped me improve I think. I only made my England debut last season, so it’s been a good 12 months.
“It’s been a very good experience (going to Blackpool) for me, moving away from home for the first time and to a new club in the Premier League.
“It’s been a big step, but it’s one that I’ve enjoyed.”The final 21-man squad, which has had a number of changes made to it after the initial announcement, is now confirmed. Click here for full details.