Ted Smith on his England under-18's debut
Youth team goalkeeper Ted Smith says making his debut for England’s under-18’s against Hungary under-18’s on Monday afternoon is one of the best moments of his life.
The under-18’s captain says keeping a clean sheet was the icing on the cake as his proud parents watched on.
Ted has been with Southend United since the age of 12, and was called up to the national side’s under-18 squad last month. He spent a week training at St George’s Park, before making his debut on Monday.
And he says the whole experience is one he’ll never forget. He said: “It was an amazing week. From the coaching we were given, to the facilities and to keeping a clean sheet on my debut.
“It was great to have my parents watching, I’m sure they were very proud. I knew I was about to come off and Hungary got a free-kick just outside the box, I just said to myself I couldn’t allow them to score.
“The save from that free-kick was actually my last touch before I came off. I was delighted to keep a clean sheet, it rounded off an unbelievable week.
“A number of the squad have been called up a few times, and play for the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, so to be part of it was brilliant. They all made me feel really welcome and part of the group which was great.”
Ted says a lot of credit must go to the staff and coaches who have worked with him throughout his progression at Southend United.
He said: “This wouldn’t be possible without the hard work that everyone has put in. From Ricky Duncan to goalkeeping coach Terry Mason, and all the coaches I’ve worked with over the years.
“Being there with players in academies at Premier League clubs was great and Southend United deserve a lot of credit for that.
“The coaching and facilities I received while away with England were amazing. St George’s Park is just fantastic and working with Angus Gunn of Manchester City was also good for me. He’s a top goalkeeper so working with him was great.”
Heading to the camp, Ted says he wasn’t really nervous, and was determined to go there and do exactly what he’s been doing in recent weeks for Southend.
Now he’s back with Blues, he is looking forward to the FA Youth Cup, and working hard to earn a professional contract at the end of the season.
“Before I went, I just said to myself that I just needed to relax and let my goalkeeping to the talking,” he added. “I wasn’t really nervous, just excited to be a part of it.
“The lads at Southend were all very supportive and were when I arrived back at Boots & Laces. I’m just determined now to have a really successful season with the youth team, do as well as we can in the league and have a good run in the FA Youth Cup.
“It’s been a great few months; playing for the first-team in the friendlies, being named captain of the youth team, and being called up for England’s under-18’s.
“I will keep working hard and hopefully come the end of the season I can earn a professional contract and follow in the same path as Dan Bentley who has done really well for the first-team this season.”