England MU20s captain Joel Latibeaudiere admits he’s enjoying life at the moment.
After spending most of last season frustrated on the sidelines through injury, the Manchester City defender is back in the international fold and experiencing first-team football on loan with FC Twente in the Netherlands.
The 19-year-old skippered the Young Lions to a 2-2 draw against Italy in Parma last week, and Keith Downing’s squad are now back on home soil for Monday’s game with Czech Republic in Peterborough.
And Latibeaudiere is glad to be back in action again after what he describes as a difficult campaign last time
“It was a frustrating season as I spent most of it out injured, it actually happened at St. George’s Park, but I’m back now and fit and strong so I’m happy with that,” he said, after also featuring for the MU20s in their draw with the Netherlands last month.
“It’s a new group of players so it’s been about getting to know each other, as we all play at different clubs, but the chemistry’s good and we kept two clean sheets at the last camp so there’s plenty of positives to take.
“I’m very happy to be back with England, we’ve got some good games this year, it’s really competitive and the games are always tough.
“The Czechs are always big and put up a fight, so we’ve had two different challenges this month and we’re looking forward to it.”
It’s been a quieter camp for the Doncaster-born player this month, after having to join up a few days later in September following his season-long loan switch to Dutch outfit Twente.
And he admits he’s enjoying a different way of life in the Dutch city of Enschede, where Twente are based, both on and off the pitch.
“Bikes! There’s lots of bikes everywhere,” he laughs.
“I’m currently living in an apartment, it’s right in the city and all of the team live within a ten minute radius of each other, so it’s easy to go out and get a coffee.
“My family have been back and forth to see me too, so it’s really good for them and it’s a relaxed place to be.
“I’d say the football is very technical, it’s less physical than in England and the fans are absolutely nuts.
“They’re really demanding and passionate about the team and the manager we have is the same, so the training is really intense but I’m enjoying it.
“I was always looking to go out on loan, but it was about finding the right team and destination for me.
“I looked together with my club and we decided the best decision was to go out to Twente to try and get good game time and it’s a good league to play in.
“A lot of players who have done well out there have gone on to move up, so I’m pleased with my decision and I’m really enjoying it out there at the minute.
“I’ve seen players, even this last transfer window, who have come out of the Eredivisie for big transfers to big clubs.
“And then from City there was Bersant Celina and Matthew Smith who both went to Twente and I know from Chelsea there was Mason Mount, Jack Clarke-Salter and Dom Solanke at Vitesse, so that definitely had an influence on my decision.
“The club know it’s time for me to play first-team football so it’s the ideal scenario.”
Fancy watching Joel and the England MU20s in Peterborough on Monday? The game kicks-off at 7pm and tickets are still available.TICKETS: ENGLAND U20S V CZECH REP