Duncan Watmore ready to catch the eye with England

Tuesday 01 Sep 2015
Duncan Watmore trains under the watchful eye of Gareth Southgate
It has only been a short career so far, but Duncan Watmore has certainly managed to fit more into it than most.

The Sunderland forward arrived at St. George’s Park on Sunday night to report for England Under-21s duty following his first call-up to the squad.

And it is the latest step in what has been a busy six months for the 21-year-old, who started his career by coming through the youth ranks with non-League Altrincham.

England v USA

International Match
7.45pm, Sunday 3 September 2015
Deepdale, Preston North End
Live on BT Sport Tickets: £10 adults, £5 juniors
Call 0844 856 1966 or e-mail ticketoffice@pne.com

After spending four weeks on loan with Northern League club Clitheroe FC, before breaking into the Altrincham team and eventually joining Sunderland a year later, Watmore first tasted international football in May when he travelled to the Toulon Tournament in May.

But he would not have had it any other way, with the early years of his career allowing him the chance to continue his studies and work towards a economics and business management degree, the result of which he will find out later this month before he hopes to graduate at Newcastle University in December.

"I’ve come here via a strange route in non-League and not being involved with England until the U20s, so I have come through a bit later than the other lads," Watmore told TheFA.com.

"It’s a different route, but I’m happy that I’ve done it that way and I was able to experience a different type of game in non-League.

"I was still doing my A-Levels and going through uni, so it gave me lots of other opportunities and I’m grateful for that, with how it’s worked out.

"It allowed me to do that because of the way I came through football, I didn’t have to leave when I was 16 to come into the game full-time.

England Under-21s forward Duncan Watmore.

Watmore was first capped by England at U20 level in the Toulon Tournament

"I was 19 when I did, so I could do my first year at uni and then combine the past two years with football and it’s worked out well."

Watmore was one of the most impressive performers for the U20s during Toulon, scoring two goals in his five appearances in southern France.

And his early-season involvement with the first team squad at the Stadium of Light helped to further bring him to the attention of U21s boss Gareth Southgate, who Watmore is keen to impress this week.

"We all want to do that [impress Southgate], see what happens in the games and then go from there," he said.

"But I’ve really enjoyed it so far, the coaching staff and the lads have made me feel really welcome and I think there’s a few new faces so it’s been a really good start and I’m looking forward to the games.

"Training’s good, there’s a lot to think about in terms of technical and tactical aspects and there’s a lot to take on board.

"It’s a new squad, but there’s a few faces who have been around for a while so it’s a good balance and everyone is on the same page, trying to impress the manager."

Duncan Watmore is loving his England experience

Watmore in action at the Toulon Tournament earlier this summer

Watmore arrived at St. George’s Park on the back of his recent debut for Sunderland, and his first goal in the Black Cats’ League Cup win against Exeter City.

And with the chance of a potential U21s debut at Deepdale on Thursday, it would only enhance the last few weeks even further.

"It’s been a good couple of weeks for me, I’ve been involved in all of the [Sunderland] squads since I made my debut," he added.

"I’ve been getting some game time coming off the bench and I’ve enjoyed it.

"Now it’s time for me to try and push on and get a start in the team, but there’s no rush for that as it’s a big step up. 

"I’m just enjoying being in the squad and learning a lot from all of the players there and the experience I’m getting.

"So I’m just taking it step by step and trying to improve with each game that I play."

Tickets for the game at Deepdale are priced at just £10 for adults and £5 for children, with a family ticket (two adults and two children) costing £20 and group bookings of 15+ working out at £5 for adults and £1 for children.

Season ticket holders at Deepdale can also claim half price tickets and concessions for U18s, over 65s and students (on production of valid ID) are £5. Call 0844 856 1966 for details or e-mail: ticketoffice@pne.com

By Nicholas Veevers at St. George's Park