Home > Football > My time with…England U18’s…Part 1

My time with…England U18’s…Part 1

 

Looking back so many years allows us to realise the potential that we had in the England U18 squad of 1993. At the time all of us were ‘potential’ stars. Although we probably realised at the time that not all of us would go on to achieve great things as a footballer I think individually we all thought that we would be one of those who would succeed.

When you reel off the names that were in the squad of 16 for that particular year group it makes no wonder that we won the European Championships. Robbie Fowler, Gary Neville, Nicky Butt, Julian Joachim, Paul Scholes, Kevin Gallon, Noel Whelan, Darren Caskey and many more.

It was a big event. It was hosted on home turf which gave us an edge. All of the matches we played in were to be shown live on Sky TV. That may not seem too surprising now that games of this type were shown on Sky but at that time it was less of a certainty.

The build up to the European Championships began the summer before with friendly matches against other countries. I was not in the squad at that early stage. I remember England played a friendly in France. Kevin Sharp and Mark Tinkler were involved and it hurt that I wasn’t. They were away for a few days and I felt like I was missing out.

My goal scoring form for Leeds United reserve and youth teams were good enough to provide an opportunity in a later squad. It was away in Spain where I got my chance. I only got 20 minutes late on in a drawn match but I impressed and nearly snatched a late winner but hit the post. I roomed with David Beckham for that trip. He was in the squad all the way up until the end and missed out at the final selection. That was a sign of how strong the squad was.

I made my first start against Denmark at The Victoria Ground, Stoke. I scored my first goals and kept my place from then on. I scored a brace in a comfortable victory which made me feel a part of the squad from then on.

The final squad was selected very close to the tournament. It was a squad of 16. The squad was made up of mainly the Leeds United and Manchester United youth teams which played in the FA Youth Cup final a few months earlier. There were five strikers which made it tough for all of us. I did start the tournament in the starting XI. Julian Joachim and I were the two strikers to start. We played a 4-4-2 diamond formation with Paul Scholes in behind the front two.

Our opening match was against France at The Victoria Ground.

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