Kean Bryan is eager to follow in the footsteps of Manchester City’s growing list of England stars.
Having lost James Milner to Liverpool in the summer, Joe Hart was the only major Three Lions international in City’s first-team squad.
England v Czech Republic
7.30pm, Monday 7 September
Greenhous Meadow, Shrewsbury
Buy tickets (£3/£1.50) now
Midfielder Bryan is a key member of the Citizens’ elite development squad which also includes a number of talented England youth teamers, including Angus Gunn, Brandon Barker, Ashley Smith-Brown and Tosin Adarabioyo.
And the 18-year-old has taken inspiration from his fellow England players as he prepares for next month’s match against Czech Republic at Shrewsbury Town, having been named in Keith Downing's first squad as interim Under-20s coach.
"To be able to look up to the likes of Raheem, Fabian and Joe Hart is brilliant for me," said Bryan, who was speaking at a Together For England roadshow in Moss Side.
"They were once in my shoes, as young, up and coming players and hopefully I can do what they’ve done and play for the City first team and play for England through the different age groups.
"My first step, though, is to make my mark at U20s level and hopefully I can do that this season."
Bryan has played for England at U16s, U17s and U19s level, and he last represented his country at the latter age group, in a 3-0 win over Italy in November 2014.
He missed out on two separate stages of Euro qualifying last season, as Sean O’Driscoll’s side were pipped by France for a place at the finals.
It was a disappointing way for a talented group, which included Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, to exit the Euros.
But Bryan is convinced that young English players are ready to prove their ability on the international stage.
He said: "English football has its critics, particularly when we don’t go that far in competitions, but we really do have some fantastic players in this country. I’ve played with a lot of them for the U19s.
"We are always proud to wear the England shirt and if we just keep on working hard I’m sure we’ll go far both as individual players and as an England team, whatever level that might be at.
"The talent we have across all the age groups is fantastic."
Bryan is keen to add to his youth experiences this season – and has drawn inspiration from another player heavily associated with Manchester City and England; James Milner.
"The caps you get as a youngster mean something. It’s all working towards getting that senior cap.
"James Milner is a great example of that. He has played for England at every age level and he works hard every week, in training and in matches, and just look and what he has gone on to achieve.
"He has won the Premier League and he’s in every England squad. He is a great role model for young players like me to look up to. He’s proof that if you work hard you’ll get your chance.
"I want to kick on now. I want to be involved with the U20s as much as I can this season and show what I can do.
"I’m enjoying my football and I want to keep on developing."
Tickets for the game are priced £3 for adults, £1.50 for concessions and can be purchased directly from Shrewsbury Town FC or by calling or call 01743 273 943.