Fred Woodman: Young Lions to 'stay humble and focused'

Saturday 16 Jul 2016
Freddie Woodman
Freddie Woodman is hoping the depth of talent and experience in the England Under-19s squad can help them to another Euro title this summer.

The Newcastle United keeper was part of the Young Lions team who lifted the championship at U17 level two years ago and is now aiming to repeat that with the U19s in Germany.

Izzy Brown’s stoppage-time goal on Friday sealed a 2-1 win over the Netherlands, after an opening game victory over France last Tuesday gave England a perfect start to the competition.

England v Croatia

UEFA European U19 Championship
The Finals
11am (BST), Monday 18 July 2016
Heidenheim Arena, Germany
Live on Eurosport

And those results mean Aidy Boothroyd’s side go into their final group match with Croatia on Monday with a semi-final spot and an U20 World Cup place already secure.

"It’s going to plan really, we set our targets at the start of the season and we’ve come across scenarios that we’ve looked at in detail and we’ve managed them well.

"There’s no better feeling [than a late goal] and in the second half, it looked like both teams were settling for a draw but I think we were definitely trying to get the three points and that place in the semi-finals.

"That’s what we’ve done all season, we’ve aimed to keep winning games.

"But for us now, we’ve got to stay humble and focused because we’re not done here yet. We set targets and we’ve got to go out now and achieve them."

England had to show their character too, after falling behind to an early goal against the Dutch only for Dominic Solanke to level things up before half time and then see substitute Brown come off the bench to seal all three points.

England U17s goalkeeper Freddie Woodman celebrates victory in the Euro Final.

Woodman celebrates winning the Euros in 2014 with England U17s in Malta

And Woodman paid tribute to Brown, who put aside his personal disappointment at missing out on a spot in the starting line-up to make a difference when he was introduced.

"For Izzy to come on and do that was brilliant," said the former Crawley Town loanee. 

"A lot of players would be sulking that they weren’t in the team and not playing, but it just shows that the squad we’ve got is so mentally strong that people like Izzy can come on and take us to the World Cup and into the semi-finals.

"That’s the beauty of this age group, we’ve got so much talent in each area and we’re heavily covered in every position.

"There are a few lads who were disappointed to be left out of the 18-man squad and there’s lads here that are on the bench but they’re not disappointed, they know it’s a team game and you’ve got to use all 18 players.

England Under-19s celebrate their dramatic win over the Netherlands at the 2016 UEFA European Under-19 Championship finals

England U19s celebrate their dramatic win over the Netherlands at the 2016 Euro Finals

"That showed today, Ade [Lookman] has come in and done really well and Tammy [Abraham] has come in too, after scoring a lot of goals for us this season."

Woodman is among nine members of the squad in Germany who have already experienced winning a Euro title as U17s back in 2014.

And whilst he acknowledges there is far more work to go before they can contemplate winning the title, he says it’s impossible to ignore the experience and know-how in the group. 

“It’s very similar and we can draw experiences from that tournament and use it in our favour,” he added, recalling his penalty shoot-out heroics against the Dutch in the 2014 final in Malta.

"A lot of us have been in the situation before, and when we sit down for dinner, we speak about what happened with the U17s.

"And the lads who are here now that weren’t involved, they want to learn and see what it was like.

"So it’s a great learning environment and everyone has got experiences in each corner, we have people who have played in the Premier League and then we have players who have played in League Two and they’re all coming from different parts of their career.

"It’s such a great feeling to be part of a squad where you can keep learning and improving off your team-mates."

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels