Youth Teams
Youth Teams
The FA

A path well worn

Callum Brittain aiming to become the latest MK Dons academy man to represent England

Tuesday 03 Oct 2017

“It was a complete shock to be honest, I’m not going to lie.”

It’s two days into Callum Brittain’s first England camp at St. George’s Park and the MK Dons man admits it’s still sinking in.

U20 International Fixtures
  • Italy v England
  • 4.50pm, Thursday 5 October
  • Municipal Stadium of Gorgonzola
  • England v Czech Republic
  • 2pm, Tuesday 10 October
  • St. George's Park

He’s training with Keith Downing’s U20s squad at the national football centre as they prepare for a trip to Italy later this week and then a game with Czech Republic back at St.George’s next Tuesday.

And the 19-year-old tells how “time just stopped” when he was pulled aside by MK boss Robbie Neilson to be told of the news last week.

“I wasn’t sure if I was in trouble or not at first, but I definitely didn’t think it was going to be about an England call-up,” he laughed.

“He came up to me and said ‘congratulations’ and I just paused, and then he told me about me being selected by England.

“I couldn’t believe it and I was lost for words, but then it was a buzz for me and of course, it’s an absolute honour.

“It’s a great achievement for me, it’s [St. George’s Park] a brilliant place and I’m proud to be here.”

The pathway from MK Dons to England has become a relatively well-trodden path over the years too, with Brittain the latest to make the step from their academy to the Young Lions set-up.

Before him, the likes of Dele Alli, Brendan Galloway, Sam Baldock, Sheyi Ojo and Giorgio Rasulo have all emerged from the ranks to earn international recognition in various age groups.

The FA ;

And he admits there’s no shortage of encouragement from within the youth ranks at MK for young players coming through to strive for progress both on a domestic and international front.

“There’s a lot of inspiration for all of the young boys at Dons,” admits Brittain, who grew up just outside Milton Keynes before being picked up by their academy.

“It’s something to look forward to because you know, as a young player, that if you work hard and put in the right time you will get your opportunity and it’s down to whether you take it or not.

“It’s been a good start to the season for me, I've been given a chance and I’ve tried to take it and the gaffer has trusted me, so it’s been enjoyable.”

Brittain is now hoping to impress Downing enough in training to earn his first cap this week, whether that’s during the trip to face Italy in Gorgonzola or when the team return to play Czech Republic at St. George’s Park next Tuesday.

But the prospect of even coming face-to-face with a nation such as Italy is something which Brittain can’t wait to experience.

“I was quite shocked when I saw the fixtures,” he admits. “Italy is a big team so it’s just an honour to fly away to Italy and be involved in that game in any way.

“The gaffer [Downing] said to me when I arrived to be patient, because I’m new to the squad and might not get as much game time as I might want but it’s my first call-up.

“So I hope to make an impression on the gaffer here and do myself proud.”

By Nicholas Veevers