Freddie Woodman's 'fantastic night' in Kazakhstan

Saturday 08 Oct 2016
Freddie Woodman

As debuts go, a clean sheet and relatively quiet night is just what any goalkeeper would ask for. 

That’s exactly how it unfolded for Freddie Woodman on Thursday, as he made his first appearance for England Under-21s in their 1-0 victory over Kazakhstan.

It took a single goal from Demarai Gray to secure the points and England’s qualification for the Euro Finals next summer, as Woodman was left well protected by the ten men in front of him.

England v Bosnia & Herzegovina

UEFA European U21 Championship
Group 9 Qualifier
3pm, Tuesday 11 October 2016
Banks's Stadium, Walsall FC
Live on BT Sport
Click here for tickets

“It was a fantastic night for me, to make my debut for the U21s, it’s what I’ve wanted since I started my first game for the U16s,” admits the Newcastle United youngster.

“So it’s a great moment and to play in front of the back four that I did, I was privileged.

“I didn’t have a lot to do, but it was good to play in front of those sort of players like Rob [Holding], Chambo [Calum Chambers], Mason [Holgate] and Brendan [Galloway]. 

“They’ve played in the Premier League and been there and done it and it’s brilliant for me to be in this group, with such high talented players. 

“It’s good to be around them and to learn from them in training so to play 90 minutes in Kazakhstan was brilliant for me and my development.”

With Aidy Boothroyd’s side now confirmed at the Euro Finals in Poland next year, Woodman knows there’s a fair chance he needs to keep his summer diary clear with the 19-year-old also still eligible to play in the U20 World Cup with his natural age group.

Pitchside highlights from Kazakhstan v England U21s

And whilst he acknowledges there is competition for places, with U21 regulars Jordan Pickford, Angus Gunn and Joe Wildsmith all missing through injury this month, he just wants to keep himself in contention for either team.

“It’s a great situation for me to be in, I’m inbetween the two squads at the moment and I know where I stand,” he added.

“But for a problem, it’s brilliant, because I’m happy to come along and play for England like I’ve done since I first came into the set-up.

“It’s a competitive age group and everyone wants to show the manager and Gareth [Southgate] what they’re about.

“So it’s a good opportunity for players to come in and do that, get some game time and keep improving and learning.”

The Three Lions are next in action on Tuesday 11 October when they play Bosnia & Herzegovina at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium in their final Euro Qualifier.

Tickets for the game cost just £1 and are available from the Walsall FC ticket office. Click here for more details.

By Nicholas Veevers