Defender Andre Wisdom says the England Uunder-21 squad is out to prove the critics wrong
says this summer’s experience with England Under-21s has helped him develop as a footballer – and made him more determined to prove the Three Lions’ real abilities.
The Liverpool defender was part of the Under-21s squad which travelled to the Euro Finals in Israel, only to find themselves on the first plane home after the going out at the group stages.
Wisdom is now back with a new-look squad as they prepare for a fresh qualifying campaign with a match against Scotland in Sheffield on Tuesday night.
And the 20-year-old believes both himself and the other players from Israel will only be stronger for it after the summer’s disappointment.
He said: “Looking back on the Euros, it was disappointing but it was a learning experience.
“I wouldn’t say that we’ve got over it, but hopefully we can just learn from it.
“People say that we may not be good enough, but we want to prove the critics wrong and we can only do that by winning.
“Every time you put on an England shirt you have something to prove.
“There are a million other people, kids or young men like us, who want to put the shirt on and represent the country so we’ve always got something to prove.
“We just want to make a good start and hopefully go on from there.”
The Under-21s will be led by Roy Hodgson for this game, before a new permanent Head Coach is appointed for the start of the qualifiers next month.
And Wisdom is already familiar with Hodgson, after the former Liverpool boss promoted him from the academy ranks to the senior squad at Anfield during his spell on Merseyside.
“I was a lot younger at Liverpool when he was there and I trained a few times with them, so it’s been good to meet up with him again,” said Wisdom.
“That was the first time that I’d been involved in the first team, when Roy first came in.
“It’s always good for any young lad to play for the first team so it played a big part in my transition from youth and reserve teams to going and training with the first team.
“But it’s good for the senior manager to come and train with us and it’s a good way for him to show us how he wants the seniors to play and we can try and emulate that.
“It’s only a short time that we’re with him, but it’s good and hopefully myself and the team can just impress the fans and the manager.”
A big crowd is expected at Bramall Lane for the game, the Under-21s’ first match at the venue since 2008.
And with a 24-man squad battling for places in the starting line-up to face the ‘Auld Enemy’, Wisdom believes it is a perfect start to the new term for England.
The Leeds-born centre back added: “Everyone is eager to start so there’s no slacking in training and we’re working in the right way.
“We know what Scotland are about. We’ve been watching clips of them and the lads are eager to go.
“I’ve been with the England squads since U16s and U17s so I know most of the lads and you play against them with your clubs.
“We know what everyone is all about and it’s just about proving yourself to the manager and getting into the starting XI.
“It’s like a derby and there’s a big rivalry between England and Scotland so myself and the lads are just focused on the task ahead.”