Marcus Bettinelli aims to be 'on the plane' for Euro Finals

Saturday 28 Mar 2015
Marcus Bettinelli made his England debut in the 1-0 win over Czech Republic in Prague
As far as debuts for a goalkeeper go, a clean sheet and a victory are among the first things on the wanted list.

For Marcus Bettinelli’s England bow in Prague on Friday, he got both, after starting against Czech Republic in his first international game for the Under-21s.

The Fulham stopper was handed the No1 shirt by Gareth Southgate after an impressive season so far with the Cottagers.

Czech Republic 0-1 England

U21 International Match
Friday 27 March 2015
Letna Stadium, Prague

And after playing his part in a shut-out as the Three Lions fended off some real pressure to secure a 1-0 win, he’s now thirsty for more with ambitions of being part of the squad which returns to Czech Republic for this summer’s Euro Finals. 

"I’m delighted, I’ve worked really hard for that and I’m really grateful that Gareth has given me the opportunity to play," said Bettinelli, after seeing captain Tom Carroll score England’s winner in the second half.

"I’ve been playing well at Fulham and thankfully, Gareth, [goalkeeping coach] Martin Thomas and the staff have seen that, so I’ve got a call and I’m delighted with my debut. 

"It was a tough game in the first half and we had to ride out a few waves of attack from them, but I couldn’t be happier with the clean sheet and my debut.

"I’ve waited a long time for it so my main priority now is to carry on playing and try to get on that plane in the summer."

The 22-year-old has been Fulham’s first-choice in the Championship this campaign and has previously spent a season on loan at League Two with Accrington Stanley, so admits he’s no stranger to the type of pressure football which England came up against at times in the Letna Stadium.

Marcus Bettinelli spoke to FATV after his England debut in Prague

And with Czech Republic piling men forward in the dying stages and posing a threat throughout from their set-plays, the south Londoner was really put to the test and believes his experiences meant he felt a certain degree of comfort. 

"Yes, definitely," he admits. "We knew they were quite a direct team and we set up for that, but in the last ten minutes we had their goalie coming up for corners and everything.

"They really threw everything at it and the old cliché is that there are no friendlies in football, and that definitely wasn’t a friendly today, but we stood up really well to it as a back five.

"It wasn’t always pretty, but we got the clean sheet and that enabled us to get the win."

The squad will leave Prague on Saturday afternoon and head to north-east England, where preparations for their next game will continue.

And with another Euro finalist in the shape of Germany in opposition, Bettinelli says it’s a game all of the squad are already keen to be involved in.

"It should be a massive game and all of the lads are really looking forward to it," he added.

"We know what it means to a lot of people, it’s a big game against Germany so we’ll do our analysis over the next couple of days.

"It might be a different test to Friday, but we’re going to have to adapt to that and we’re all looking forward to it and hopefully we can get the win."

Over 28,000 fans will be at the Riverside on Monday evening, but tickets for the Germany game are still on sale

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels in Prague, Czech Republic