'Those are the moments that we defenders live for'

Thursday 10 Sep 2015
England U19s captain Jake Clarke-Salter
Jake Clarke-Salter says wearing the captain’s armband did not change his approach on the pitch, but revealed his great pride at being given the honour.

The Chelsea defender was preparing to face Germany on last Friday with his England Under-19s team-mates when head coach Aidy Boothroyd called him in to give him the news.

“He only told me only a couple of hours before the game and it was a massive honour for me. I really enjoyed the experience,” he told TheFA.com.

“I wouldn’t say it made me any different on the pitch, playing for England is an honour for me anyway so to wear the armband was even better. I just tried to play my normal game and keep everyone going.”

England Under-19s boss Aidy Boothroyd

U19s boss Aidy Boothroyd selected Jake Clarke-Salter as captain

England recorded a fantastic 3-2 victory against their hosts, but they were made to work hard for it after Jonjoe Kenny’s dismissal.

“That’s the moment we live for as defenders,” said Clarke-Salter when recalling the action. “Being away with your country, down to 10 men, you just have to defend and do whatever you can to keep the ball out of the net.”

Although he says the added responsibility did not affect his game, the moments after Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ strike perhaps gave us an insight into why Boothroyd selected the 17-year-old as skipper.

England Under-19s line-up to face Germany.

Jake Clarke-Salter captained the side against Germany and Croatia

As a number of his team-mates joined in the celebrations, Clarke-Salter was quick to ensure they regained their focus prior to the restart. 

“On the pitch I’m a bit crazy sometimes and do not like to be beaten,” he admitted. “We had spoken before the game about remaining switched on if we scored as in the past we have sometimes let teams have a couple of chances straight after. 

“I just wanted to make sure everyone was concentrating as we really wanted that result in Germany and fortunately we did.”

Following the success in Germany, Clarke-Salter led out his country for the second time on Monday as the Young Lions came from behind to secure a 1-1 draw away to Croatia.

“We started a bit sluggish to be fair, but as we grew into the game we began to build up the momentum and created quite a lot of chances,” said Clarke-Salter.

“We were unlucky in the end not to win but we were pleased to get back into it.”

And reflecting on the trip as a whole, the youngster added: “These are the tests that we can prove how strong our team is to be fair.

“We work hard together and have a great spirit. We showed a great desire to get something from these tough away games and I think that shows by these two results.“

England U19s travel to Skopje next month to take on Macedonia, Finland and Italy in their First Round Euro Qualifiers.

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer