Portsmouth’s Jack Whatmough has praised The FA’s scouting network for looking down the league ladder as he eyes making his England U19s debut against Germany tonight.
The big defender is one of nine players in John Peacock’s squad to be employed by a club outside the Premier League and he believes the mix of top-flight youth team players and Football League talent is healthy.
He said: “It’s good that The FA are scouting down the leagues.
Germany v England
5pm BST, Monday 8 September 2014
“I’m also thankful that I’ve been picked up and got a call-up for the England squad again.
“It is usually FA Youth Cup winners and people that have done well in their youth team so I’m grateful that they’ve gone down the leagues and looked at first team clubs and what they have to offer.”
Jack is the first to admit that there’s a stark contrast between the style of play he experiences at club level and that which he hopes to be a part of in Oberhausen this evening.
But he believes a varied football education can only make him a better all-round player.
“League Two is direct - that’s the quickest way to get forward because you get closed down so much,” said the young defender.
“In international football you get a lot of time on the ball and you can play out from the back.
“Being able to play both styles can only help my development because I’ll have all those aspects to my game.”
It has been an incredible 12 months for the Gosport-born defender.
Thrust into the Portsmouth first team last season aged just 17, Whatmough flourished and ended up making a dozen appearances.
Although the tall centre back admits the learning curve has been steep he says he’s enjoyed every minute of it.
“It’s been a good experience, breaking into the first team and then getting my first England call-up,” said Whatmough.
“It’s a real progression to go from youth team football to playing against men.
“Then to come here [with England] where it’s all quick football, it has been two big steps in a short space of time so it has been hard.
“People have just told me to play with a smile on my face and that helps me be successful because I’ve never got myself down, I’ve just always looked forward to the next game.”
And Whatmough intends to still be wearing that smile come full-time in tonight’s game with Germany in Oberhausen.
“It’s a hard start but the boys have trained well all week and we are all ready to go.
“It’s a game we need to perform well in and, hopefully, we can get the win.”