All abroad! Young Lions catch-up at St. George's Park

Wednesday 25 Mar 2015
Taylor Moore met Danny Collinge at St. George's Park this week
With St. George’s Park playing host to a hotbed of England activity this week, two Young Lions who ply their trade abroad were able to finally sit down and meet.

Lens defender Taylor Moore, who is part of Neil Dewsnip’s Under-18s, linked up with U17s centre-back Danny Collinge, who joined Stuttgart in Germany last summer.

Moore said: “Many people have mentioned Danny to me before with him also playing abroad. It is a bit uncommon, so it has been good to finally meet him this week.

England v Romania

U17 Euro Elite Qualifying Round
7pm, Thursday 26 March
Pirelli Stadium, Burton Albion

“He seems to be a very intelligent boy, and he seems to be enjoying his football out in Germany.

“I think the German and French systems are very similar with regards to the education and football and we are both enjoying ourselves.

“We followed each other on Twitter before this trip, so we have been able to keep track of how each other have been doing and we’ll be able to keep in touch from now on.”

Collinge, who has helped England qualify for the European U17s Championship after victories over Norway and Slovenia, added: “It’s been interesting. You don’t meet many other England players that are abroad, so it was good to meet Taylor and we seem to get along well. 

"It was nice to compare what life was like in France compared to Germany.

“I asked him all about the style of play in France, the culture and also about the education out there, and how he works his football around his school life.”

Moore was in exactly the same position as Collinge last year having just helped his country qualify for the Euros under the guidance of John Peacock.

The 17-year-old then went on to score in the penalty shoot-out as England defeated Holland to win the tournament last May in Malta.

Taylor Moore celebrates winning the Euros with keeper Freddie Woodman

Taylor Moore celebrates winning the Euros with keeper Freddie Woodman

And his new friend is drawing inspiration for Moore’s feats last season.

“Definitely," said Collinge. "Looking at what Taylor and last year’s U17s achieved was special, and every one of us this year would like to live up to the standards they set.

“I’m more than positive that we have the quality of players that can do so.”

He may not have a winners medal yet, but Collinge has achieved something that a “gutted” Moore has not – getting his name on the scoresheet for England.

The former MK Dons youngster achieved that last Saturday when he notched his first international goal against Norway.

“I was over the moon – it was just being in the right place at the right time,” said Collinge.

“It wasn’t a crazy goal – I found myself in the right spot – but my celebration was a bit poor, that needs some work for next time.”

England v Switzerland

International U18 Match
5.30pm, Saturday 28 March 2015
Banks's Stadium, Walsall FC
Call 01922 651414 for tickets

Despite Moore's lack of success in front of goal for the Young Lions, it is clear to see that nothing means more to him than pulling on the Three Lions over his chest – especially when they play at home.

“That makes it even more special when we play in England,” said Moore. “Playing abroad, I don’t get the chance to play in England that often, so every time I do it means that little bit more.

“I had the chance to play in England at the beginning of the season when we had the double-header against Holland, winning 4-1 and 3-1, so I’ve been really looking forward to these games against Switzerland.”

The U17s and U18s have been joined at St. George’s Park this week by Roy Hodgson’s senior squad – and Moore admits he has found it slightly surreal.

“I’ve been to St. George’s Park with the Under-17s twice before last season, but there wasn’t any other squads here with us, but obviously this week there has been three, including the seniors.

“It’s good, and you get to bump into a few of them when you are walking around which can be a bit surreal, but it’s an amazing experience being so close to some of the players you only see on TV.

“And Gary Neville came and did a team meeting with us, which was brilliant. To have someone who has played at the highest level and now a coach with the seniors, it was inspirational.”

Both men will be in action on Thursday, with Moore and his U18s team-mates tackling Switzerland in the afternoon before Collinge and the U17s play their final Elite Round qualifier match against Romania at Burton Albion on the evening.

Danny Collinge celebrates his goal against Norway

Danny Collinge celebrates his goal against Norway

With qualification already secured for this summer’s tournament in Bulgaria, Collinge is looking to finish their qualification campaign in style.

“We’ve been a bit disappointed not to get a clean sheet in these last two games. We’ve set it as a target to get one against Romania, and obviously we want a few goals to finish nicely and round off a nice qualification for us and maintain our 100 per cent record.

And as the two men shared a handshake as the interview came to a close, Moore had time to answer one more question – could he envisage the pair lining-up alongside each other one day at the heart of an England defence.

“Why not? We are both centre-halves, and we know we still have a lot of hard work to do, but why not?

“One day we could play alongside each other for our country – and that would be special.”

Tickets for England U17s v Romania, kick-off 7pm, are available on the gate tomorrow evening at Burton Albion.

England U18s’ first match of their double-header against Switzerland will be held behind closed doors tomorrow, but you can watch them live in their second clash at Walsall on Saturday, kick-off at 5.30pm.

Tickets for England U18s at Banks’s Stadium cost just £3 for adults and £1.50 for concessions. Call 01922 651 414/416 for more details or pay on the gate.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer At St. George's Park