Debutant Harrison Reed 'honoured' to be involved

Tuesday 04 Mar 2014
Reed during his first England training session

Harrison Reed says it will be an "honour" to represent England for the first time - should he get on the pitch when England U19s take on Turkey on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old midfielder was one of four Southampton players to be called up to Noel Blake’s Young Lions squad – and along with Matt Targett and Sam Gallagher - is one of three poised to make their first appearance England shirt.

For Reed the possibility of pulling on the Three Lions jersey for the first time is an exciting prospect and a challenge, and one he intends to grasp with both hands.

“I’ll have friends and family in the crowd on Wednesday and hopefully I’ll get on the pitch at some stage – and if I do it will be a special moment for me to put an England shirt on,” he said. 

“I’ve got the England tracksuit on [by being in the squad], but to put the shirt on will be very different. It will be an honour to play for England.”

England v Turkey

U19s International 
7pm, Wednesday 5 March 2014 
Swansway Chester Stadium 
Tickets available on the gate 
£3 adult, £1 concession

The highly-rated youngster – who has made five first-team appearances so far this term for the south-coast club – also said that the new experience has been made all the easier by having so many familiar faces around the camp.

“It’s been absolutely great so far,” he added.

“It’s been a case of settling in with all the boys and getting to know everyone, find out how they play and working on tactics for Wednesday’s game – it’s been really enjoyable.

“It’s my first time away with an England team so to have three team-mates from my club here with me has definitely made it a lot easier to settle in quickly – especially arriving with them as well – but it’s a really good group of lads and everyone gets on great. 

“Of course, it’s always good to have others that I know already and am comfortable around, on and off the pitch. I feel like I’ve settled in really quickly.

One member of the squad Reed knows especially well is captain Calum Chambers, with whom he shares a flat with near the Southampton training ground – and who he has been close to since childhood. The pair are born a week apart and have come through the ranks at Southampton, since starting together in the Under-8s.

Harrison Reed

The highly-rated youngster has made five first-team appearances for Southampton so far this season

He said: “I spoke to Calum and talked about what’s expected of you when you meet up with England. Obviously he’s been on a few of these trips now and as soon as I got a call-up I chatted to him and he told me what to expect. 

“He said it was my chance to impress and to make sure I do everything I can to do that.“

England's game against Turkey is Noel Blake’s final opportunity to look at the latest group of the country’s finest young players before the Elite Round of qualifying for the UEFA U19 European Championship takes place in May – a tournament which England host.

And Reed admits he and all the players recognise the importance of what it means to be an England player – and understands that they are being trained, and assessed, for the duration of the camp.

“They sit us down at the beginning of the trip and talk us through the code of conduct, and what it means to be an England player,” he added. 

“We all know it is important we conduct ourselves well both on the pitch and off the pitch – around the hotel and the training ground. We take on board everything he [Noel Blake] says.

“It’s my first chance and I’m just looking to impress, on and off the pitch.  

“Of course I’ll have one eye on wanting to make the squad for the Elites – it’s definitely a target of mine.”

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer