Stephy Mavididi: 'It's a striker's job to score goals'

Monday 18 May 2015
England Under-17s striker Stephy Mavididi
Stephy Mavididi has his eyes set on one thing only, doing "his job" and firing England Under-17s to the FIFA U17s World Cup in Chile.

The Arsenal forward was handed his first international call-up for European Championships in Bulgaria, and he featured in every game until the Young Lions were eliminated at the quarter-final stage with a controversial 1-0 defeat against Russia.

Although their Euro dreams have ended, attentions quickly turned to the World Cup and Tuesday’s crunch play-off encounter against Spain, and Mavididi is desperate to notch his first goal for his country.

Spain v England

FIFA Under-17s World Cup
Play-off match
2pm, Tuesday 19 May 2015
Sliven, Bulgaria

"I’m always confident I will score, but it would mean everything. I just want to hit the back of the net for England," he told "That’s what a striker’s job is, and if I can get that goal against Spain, then hopefully it will fire us to the World Cup."

Even though he has yet to score, the 16-year-old powerhouse forward has impressed during his time in Bulgaria, proving to be a handful for both the Italian and Dutch defence, and he has enjoyed the test of facing Europe’s best.

"International football is completely different from club level. The standard is a lot higher and everything is much harder," he explained.

"In the U21s league for Arsenal you know what to expect from a centre-half, but in the international world you don’t know what to expect to come up against.

"The centre-halves are quick, clever and fast – they have the whole package. It’s completely different."

A month ago Mavididi was not even dreaming that he would be pulling the Three Lions over his chest at the Euros.

But after he found out he was being handed a first call-up, there was only one person he wanted to tell.

Mavididi in action against Italy

Mavididi in action against Italy

"I’d played in an U21s game at Arsenal and I wasn’t very happy at the end of it. The next day when I came into training I was still feeling a bit upset, but my coach pulled me aside," he said.

"He said to me, ‘I know you’re upset, but don’t be because you will be going to Euros with the U17s and I’m telling you this as it’s your first time and I want you to really look forward to and enjoy it’.

"It made my day. It was early in the morning and I was so happy and smiling the rest of the day. I just couldn’t wait to get home and tell my mum.

"I knew I’d been watched, but I wasn’t expecting my first call-up to be at such a big tournament."

His Euro aspirations may now be over now, but Mavididi and his team-mates still have a fantastic opportunity to test themselves against the world’s best by securing their spot at the showpiece in Chile by defeating Spain.

"If you want to be the best then you have to challenge yourself against the best. We are really looking forward to doing that against Spain, and we want to carry that on into the World Cup."

You can watch England’s play-off clash with Spain live on Eurosport at 2pm on Tuesday. 

Follow @England on Twitter for all the latest from the Young Lions camp in Bulgaria.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer in Pomorie,Bulgaria