Chambers keen to make 'good first impression' with U21s

Wednesday 25 Mar 2015
Chambers has been training with England Under-21s for the first time this week
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Settling into a new squad is something which Calum Chambers has become quite accustomed to in the last year.

The 20-year-old is with the England Under-21s group for the first time this week, preparing for Friday’s game with Czech Republic, and admits it has been a simple settling-in process.

Czech Republic v England

U21s International Match
7.30pm, Friday 27 March 2015
Latna Stadium, Prague

After all, it is something he has had to do at both international and domestic level on a number of occasions in recent times.

He broke into the Southampton first team squad last season while also captaining the England U19s team and ended the campaign strongly with both club and country.

His form at St. Mary’s quickly caught the eye, and with Arsene Wenger among those impressed, that led to a big-money move to Arsenal before a debut for Roy Hodgson’s senior England side followed last September.

And after finding himself comfortable in the company with both the Gunners and Three Lions, it has been another smooth transition into Gareth Southgate’s squad.

"It’s been good to be involved in the group and it’s a great bunch of lads, the staff have been very welcoming," said Chambers.

Arsenal and England defender Calum Chambers says he's settled well into U21s squad after a 'whirlwind year'

"He’s [Southgate] been trying to get me since the last trip, so it’s good to be here, it will be a good experience playing and the training has been really good too.

"It’s [the last year] been a whirlwind and a mad start to my Arsenal career but I’ve really enjoyed it. 

"I made my debut in the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and the England senior team.

"So it’s been pretty mad and I’m really pleased with how I’ve done and I just want it to keep going."

There were already a few familiar faces for Chambers when he joined up with the U21s squad on Sunday, with former Southampton team-mates James Ward-Prowse and Matt Targett also involved.

But he admits there was still a familiar feeling of wanting to make the best impression on his new squad-mates, while not being quite as daunted as his first day with Arsenal.

"There’s a lot of good players here, they’re all doing really well at their clubs and obviously I know a lot of them really well, but not all of them, so it’s good to come and get to meet them and know them," he revealed.

Arsenal defender Calum Chambers in action at the Community Shield.

Chambers has made a bright start to his career with Arsenal this season

"It’s like when the first couple of days at Arsenal were a bit daunting, with the calibre of some of those players when you walk into the dressing room.

"You have massive respect for all of them. Going in there, you’re not scared but just a little bit nervous.

"You want to come across well and give a good first impression, but I’ve settled in really well and it’s a great bunch of lads who have helped me.

"Likewise with England, my first experience there was a bit nerve-wracking too, but they also welcomed me in really well and made it easy for me.

"I’ve learnt to just have self-confidence, you know that you have the ability but you have to go into training and play with confidence and show everybody what you can do.

"Also, when you’re around the lads, just be yourself and show respect but don’t hide in your shell."

The trip so far has given Chambers a real taste for what lies ahead this summer, when Southgate’s squad return to Czech Republic for the Euro Finals.

And after spending three days so far in their base of Olomouc to prepare for Friday, the Petersfield-born defender is already feeling the buzz.

"Speaking about it off the pitch, everyone is really excited about it and we want to go there and win in the summer," he added.

"We’ve come here to get used to the environment and what’s around us, so when we come back it will almost feel as though we’ve been here before and it’s like a second home.

"The quality in training has been really high, we’re all pushing ourselves and we want to get as far as we can in this competition so we’re all giving it our best shot."

By Nicholas Veevers in Olomouc, Czech Republic