By Nicholas Veevers
Monday, 12 November, 2012
Blair Turgott aims to follow in the footsteps of former U19s team-mate Raheem Sterling
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Blair Turgott has been an England regular over the last three years, but is now hoping his experiences on the international front can help him develop and round his game to progress on the domestic scene.
The West Ham United starlet first played for England at U16 level back in November 2009, when he played against Northern Ireland in the Victory Shield in Chester.
Another player making his Three Lions bow that night was Raheem Sterling, a close friend of Turgott’s and a long-time England squad mate.
And after seeing Sterling progress from the U19s squad in September through to the Under-21s and now a place in the Senior set-up, 18-year-old Turgott knows how quickly things can turn around if you make the right impression.
“You only have to look at Raheem to see how well he’s done this season and that is an inspiration to all of us,” admitted Blair, ahead of Tuesday's game with Finland in Telford.
“He was with us in the U17s last year and for the first U19s game in Germany, so if you get the chance, you have to take it."
With over 25 caps to his name from U16, U17, U18 and U19 appearances, Turgott is one of the more experienced players in Noel Blake’s squad for the game at the New Buck's Head Stadium.
He featured in the European U17 Championship Finals in Serbia in 2011 as England reached the semi-final before travelling to Mexico for the U17 World Cup later that year, where he scored a stunning goal against Canada as John Peacock’s side reached the last eight.
Those occasions live long in the memory of any young player and Turgott is no different, as he reflects on his international experiences, the most recent of which was the First Qualifying Round for next summer’s U19 Euro Finals out in Estonia.
“It’s been good for me, because you get to experience playing away from home and going to other countries and continents and playing football out there, which is a great experience for me now and my career going forward,” he explained.
“It was a good trip out to Estonia and I thought we did really well as a team to come out on top of the group and qualify.
“Estonia is a country you wouldn’t necessarily go to otherwise under other circumstances so it was another little trip and experience.
“Some of the games were tough, against the likes of Ukraine but we did enough in the end and finished the group on top.”
You can read the full interview with Blair in the official match programme from Tuesday's game.