Defender James Hill insists playing regular first team football at Fleetwood Town has given him the platform to improve following his call-up to England’s Under-21s.
The Young Lions squad is littered with Premier League stars, with the Cod Army’s name standing out in the list of clubs which provide the players on the 23-man list.
Hill is a product of Town’s Academy, making his first-team debut at the age of just 16. And he believes this exposure to first-team football has played a huge part.
"Playing week-in and week-out has been so important to me, to be able to go out and learn the game in men’s football has been huge for my development," he said.
I recently managed to make my 50th senior appearance for Fleetwood Town and I don’t think I’d have got anywhere near an England call-up without it.
"I want to get better as a player and playing regularly in senior football plays a huge part in that. I’m really proud to be representing EFL clubs and Fleetwood Town when I go away on international duty, it’s a fantastic personal achievement and I want to do them and myself proud."
Hill recently celebrated his international debut with a call-up to England’s U20s squad, making three appearances and scoring a goal in the process.
His performances caught many an eye while in a three lions shirt, and he’s now received the call by Lee Carsley for the prestigious under 21s.
Something he’s hugely proud of, adding: “It’s massive for me and a great honour to be recognised by England and to now be called up to the under 21s.
"It’s every kid’s dream to be playing football and to get called up for England, so it’s all surreal at the moment but something that I’m really looking forward to it.
I watch the players in that squad on Sky at the weekend now I’ve been selected alongside them, it’s fantastic.
“Hopefully I’ve done myself justice while I’ve been with the Under-20s, I managed to get myself a goal too and the call-ups have provided me with a really big test. I think I’ve done well and am really pleased that’s been recognised now with a call-up to the U21s.”
Carsley's youngsters face the Czech Republic in a Euro 2023 qualifier in Burnley next week before travelling to Georgia for a friendly on November 16.
England are third in Group G, five points behind leaders the Czech Republic with a game in hand.