Men's Under 21s
Men's Under 21s
The FA

Alfie's journey

England U21s defender Alfie Mawson reflects on pathway to the squad and Euro hopes

Tuesday 21 Mar 2017

“There’s a good saying that you can’t get too up with the highs or down with the lows.”

Alfie Mawson is reflecting on what he is happy to admit has been an eventful 12 months in his life, before adding: “Hopefully it’ll be a massive high in the summer.”

U21s' March schedule
  • Germany v England: 7pm, Friday 24 March 2017
  • Brita Arena, Wiesbaden
  • Denmark v England: 6pm, Monday 27 March 2017
  • Bio Nutria Park, Randers
  • Both games live on BT Sport
The Swansea City defender is currently with the England Under-21s squad at St. George’s Park, as they prepare to face both Germany and Denmark over the next week and look ahead to June's Euro Finals in Poland.

It’s only his second time away with an England squad at any level, following a rapid rise to the Premier League which has taken in stints with Brentford, Maidenhead, Luton Town, Welling United, Wycombe Wanderers and Barnsley over the last four years.

And the 23-year-old still has to scratch his head when asked to explain the last year which has seen him go from helping Barnsley to promotion from League One to playing in the top flight with Swansea City and earning his first international cap in last November’s game with France on the outskirts of Paris.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, so just to be in the Premier League and representing my country, it’s mental for me,” said Mawson.

“It’s been brilliant, but you’ve got to take these things in your stride and not get too worked up or excited.

“It’s been a bit of an up and down season as we’re still in the relegation picture, which isn’t great, but the new gaffer has come in, changed things and it’s looking up.

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“We’re going into each game now with a positive mindset and I’ve got to bring that here, the confidence that I’ve got at the moment.

“It’s good to be called up again and it’s a proud moment. It was brilliant last year, it was the first time for me and a very good experience for myself.

“I took a lot away from it, it was great to get my first cap and it was a very proud moment so I just hope that can continue and I can get some more.”

As a latecomer to the international fold with a variety of experiences already under his belt from his short career so far, the west Londoner admits that all helps him to appreciate his current surroundings even more.

After making the decision to leave Brentford for Barnsley in the summer of 2015, he left home for the first time, a process which he says has matured him into the player and person he’s now become.

“It has helped me massively and I do feel one of the more mature ones here,” he admits. 

“I’m a bit older and I’ve been around the lower leagues, so I know what it takes and it makes me appreciate things that bit more.

“Barnsley was a four-hour drive from home and I made the decision to do it, to go up there. It wasn’t only football-wise but for me as an individual, to live on my own for the first time.

“At Swansea, it’s not as far away so I can shoot home now and again but you feel a lot more comfortable when you move out, it made me feel like I was going in the right direction.

“It’s all good experience, but when you get to this level you want to just keep pushing on and ultimately get into the senior squad.”

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Having played his way into Aidy Boothroyd’s squad following their successful qualification for the Euro Finals, Mawson now wants to ensure he remains there.

And with two of the Young Lions’ fellow finalists lined up as opposition on the road this week, he’s looking forward to the tests in store.

“They are two good footballing sides, you only have to look at their senior teams and that’s bred through their younger sides,” he explains.

“It will be a tough test and that’s what we need. You don’t want to be playing easier games leading up to a tournament, you want to be testing yourself for what’s coming.

“It’s not going to be an easy tournament, but we’ve got the ability and hopefully, we can go all the way and lift the trophy.

“It’s a big tournament, not only for the team but also for us as individuals and it’s going to be tough to get in the starting eleven, but that’s football and healthy competition is what you need.

"It’s a very good group of lads and the competition is very high, so it’s a good place to be.”

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels at St. George's Park