Eddie: It’s the pinnacle of recognition

Eddie Nketiah celebrates with England Under-21s

Eddie Nketiah has spoken of his pride at being called up for the England senior national team for the first time.

Our former academy striker remains the all-time leading goalscorer for the England Under-21 side, with 16 goals from 17 appearances, and has now progressed to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad, after the selection was named on Thursday.

The 24 year old, who has scored twice in the opening three games this season, has been named among the group for the Euro qualifier against Ukraine and friendly with Scotland later this month.

“It’s amazing,” he told us after hearing the news. “Obviously coming through the ranks as an academy boy and the youth groups at England, it’s a nice feeling to get that natural progression to go to the seniors.

“It’s the pinnacle of recognition for a player that represents England, so I’m really happy to be there and looking forward to meeting up with the boys.

“It was a nice moment for me,” he said about receiving the call. “I was with all my family and a few of my friends were at the house as well, so it was a really nice moment. Obviously, it’s one that you can look back on and cherish because it’s been a long journey here, a few ups and downs, so it’s nice to have something to show for it and celebrate.”

Eddie, who has also represented his country at under-18, under-19 and under-20 levels – scoring at each age group – will have some familiar faces with him on international duty next week, as Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka and Aaron Ramsdale have also been called up.

All the boys were really supportive and were hoping for me to join and link up with them,” Eddie said, “so it was a really nice moment for me to celebrate that with them, because obviously I want to give thanks to my team-mates for all the help in getting me there.

“I just want to enjoy myself and really embrace the surroundings, and show my qualities, show my talents and hopefully help the team to get out there and contribute, and obviously learn from the great players that I’ll be mixing in and around with. I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m just hopeful to get out there and show what I can do.”

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