Academy Manager proud as Ted Smith earns England under-18 call up
Ricky Duncan says everyone at Southend United can be proud of Ted Smith’s England under-18’s call up.
Smith will link up with the national side for a training camp and two games against Hungary, and his manager at Blues is delighted for the young goalkeeper, who he named as captain for this season.
He said: “I think everyone at the club that has played a part in his development should be very proud, and so should the supporters. For a Category 3, League 2, academy to produce someone for the national side is a top achievement, it’s great recognition for the work we do.
Ted has put in a lot of hard work. He had a good pre-season and was involved with the first-team a lot which was great.
“The manager showed a lot of faith in him and gave him some first-team game time which really boosted his confidence. He’s grown in stature and has been an excellent captain for us this season so far.”
Ted himself can’t wait for the opportunity to play alongside players from the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool.
He said: “There’s some big clubs represented like Newcastle, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool so it’s great to be involved and to be given the opportunity.
“I’ve been involved a few times before but this is a step up as it’s the full under-18 side. It’s really exciting and I’m extremely grateful for the work everyone has put in to get me this opportunity.
“Angus Gunn (the other goalkeeper called up) is at Manchester City so it will be great to work alongside him and train with him. He wasn’t there when I’ve been before but I’m sure he’s a top goalkeeper who I am looking forward to working with.”
Two more academy players have also earned recognition with Jordan Gabriel set to link up with Scotland’s under-16’s and Macauley Keating due to play in a game for Republic of Ireland.
Duncan added: “It’s great to see Jordan called up too. He’s just joined us and is showing some real promise. Macauley Keating will go with Ireland for them to have a look at him. It’s been a good couple of weeks for us and it’s great to get some recognition.”
A full interview with Ricky and Ted can be found in Friday night's matchday programme.