Ashley Young competes for the ball against Tunisia.

How Ashley Young is living a childhood dream

Sunday 24 June 2018 08:19

Ashley Young is fulfilling a childhood dream by competing at the 2018 World Cup finals.

After playing his part in England’s 2-1 victory over Tunisia in the Group G opener, the Manchester United defender will be hoping to start again when Panama provide the opposition today (Sunday, 13:00 BST).

His involvement in the beautiful game's biggest event was something he wished for when he was barely five years old back in 1990.

Ashley Young in discussion with coach Gareth Southgate.

”Italia ’90 was the one I remember first,” he said, when asked to recall his first World Cup memories by MUTV.

“I remember hearing the name Toto Schillaci and I think I even bought the computer game on the Nintendo. It was the first World Cup I’d seen and it was just a fantastic tournament.

"I always wanted to play in the biggest tournaments and when it comes to the international stage, it doesn’t get any bigger than the World Cup.”

Toto Schillaci was one of the heroes of the 1990 World Cup.

Four years later, England did not qualify for the World Cup in the United States but Young still followed events closely, even if he had playing commitments of his own on the day of the final.

”I was playing in a five-a-side tournament when Brazil beat Italy,” he added, in an archived interview with the official club TV channel.

"It went to penalties and I remember seeing the shoot-out and Roberto Baggio putting his one over the bar.

"I watched it on a big screen in a field somewhere, wherever we were playing five-a-side, so that was the weirdest place I’ve seen a World Cup.”

The evolution of Ashley Young


We mark the seventh anniversary of Ashley Young's arrival by assessing his journey from winger to World Cup wing-back.