Sears lifted by first Under-21s strike
Jamie Bradbury in Nauplia
Tuesday, 08 September, 2009
After a goal against Macedonia, the forward hopes there is more to come.
Click on the video on the right to watch the full video interview or flick through a gallery of pictures from training...
After making his debut for the Under-21s last month in Holland, it took Freddie Sears just one more substitute appearance before he grabbed his first goal for the team.
With England trailing at half time in Macedonia, Stuart Pearce introduced the on-loan Crystal Palace forward into the mix and he responded by pulling England level with an instinctive finish.
It helped the Three Lions go on to take all three points, thanks to a winner from the penalty spot from captain Lee Cattermole, a get England’s 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifiers off to a positive start.
Now, as the team prepare to take on Group Nine leaders Greece in Tripoli on Tuesday evening, the 19-year-old thinks that the training and the team spirit that has been building during this get together will help in their search for another three points.
“It was a struggle (in Macedonia), to be fair. The pitch and the heat didn’t help us, but if we would have gone 1-0 up it could have been a completely different story, we could have put three or four past them. But I think we showed great character to come back and get the result.
“It was a massive lift for myself and the team, to get off the mark at this level was good and for the team to get the three points which we needed,” Sears told TheFA.com. “It was a good start for us overall.
“I remember the corner came out, got a knock down, I moved off, stuck a leg out and it found itself way in the back of the net.
“Greece will be a lot better team than Macedonia, no disrespect to Macedonia, but I think Greece will come at us a bit more which might suit us.
Sears continued: “These trips are always good to come away for eight days, have training, the games come thick and fast. But it’s been good. We started in Holland and got a good result there and we’ve got two important games now.”
“The training has been good, all week we’ve been here. Just the short and sharp stuff we’ve been doing like scoring goals, finishing, little games, it’s great and gets us ready for the game.”
And Sears, who is on season-long loan at Selhurst Park from boyhood club West Ham, is enjoying the experience of being away with England. He’s seen a number of familiar faces around the squad, which he believes has helped him settle in easily.
Following his bright start to the season for England Under-21s, he wants to keep playing and perhaps one day follow former club mates up the ladder and become another link to the Upton Park connection in the Senior Team.
“That’s your dream to play for England at any level, to put on the shirt is a great honour. The next step is the full squad, but the Under-21s is the next best thing so it’s great.
“People at West Ham coming through, like Defoe, Joe Cole, Carrick we used to see them as youngsters and they were really good.
“Most of this age have grown up together, we’ve been in the U19s last year, obviously I know Tomkins and Junior from West Ham, which is a bonus, but there’s not many faces you don’t recognise.
“Hopefully one day we’ll see a few of us in the full squad. There’s a good bunch of lads here, so hopefully one day we’ll get the chance.
He added: “You learn a lot when you’re away, you learn different styles of football, different team play and about different cultures which is good for your experience.
“It’s hard when you come for the Holland game and you just train for one day, but we’ve had a good week together, basically living together 24/7, and the spirit is growing by the day.”
England will meet their hosts Greece on Tuesday evening at the Asteras Tripolis Stadium, home to Greek Super League side PAE Asteras Tripolis, kick off 5.00pm BST.
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