year, I had a bit of both injury and illness. I found it hard in my first year but had learned how to cope a little bit better by the second year. I’d never been injured like that before – I’d had injuries but nothing like as major as the one I had. I did find it quite difficult. The club put me on shutdown for three months so I couldn’t come in. I just sat at home, not really doing anything. It killed me. It wasn’t good.
Was there a lot of work required to get back to full fitness?
It was hard just to watch the lads and see them train as well as I’d just go to the gym and slug it out in there. It’s not a nice place to be. However, I think it has helped me. Obviously, I still do the gym work now but, in a weird way, it was good that I was injured because it made me get a bit more physical and stronger, which I needed.
Is that the case as you move up the levels and find the games more physical?
Yes, especially when I play for the Under-21s against some first-team lads. I have really got to try to compete but it has helped me.
Although the UEFA Youth League took up a lot of focus, is your main aim to break into the Under-21 side on a regular basis?
Yes, that’s obviously what I am trying to do – push to get in Warren Joyce's team and cement a place in that. It’s a bit of an unusual league this year. If we didn’t have the Under-19 league, I wouldn’t be playing many games at all so that has helped.
You have been a regular for England at youth level. How have you found that experience?
I was away recently with the Under-19s. I’d been with the younger ones all the way through, apart from last year, when I was injured and missed out on the Under-18s. You know the other lads as you play against them throughout the age groups. It is a