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U20 World Cup Diary

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

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Five young Blues are reporting back from Turkey where England Under-20s are eyeing World Cup glory.

John Lundstram and Luke Garbutt have already provided their updates from the camp. Next up, it's the turn of 18-year-old forward Chris Long...


Being here is great. I have to be honest, I didn't expect it because I'm the youngest here. It's not my age group, it's two years above.

So when I got the call into the preliminary squad, it definitely came as a shock. When I found out I was coming to the tournament, I was stunned.

It's one of the best feelings I've had – it's mad to be playing at a World Cup!

I do feel like the youngest but I haven't let that bother me. I've been getting on with the lads, chilling out with my Everton teammates, and Liverpool's Connor Coady and John Flannagan as well. We don't just go off on our own though - we are a team and we all get along together.

I'm rooming with John Lundstram and he's a good mate of mine. But he snores and it can hard getting sleep! He's also ringing his girlfriend every night at 11 o'clock to tell her how much he loves her and that. He thinks I'm asleep but I have to listen to him! So John, give it up mate.

On a serious note, the whole thing has been amazing so far. A month in a different country playing with a good set of lads, it's brilliant.

I was buzzing after my goal in the friendly against Uruguay on Sunday. We all had a barbeque after the game and the gaffer, Peter Taylor, let us have a day off the next day to chill out.

Hopefully getting on the scoresheet has earned me a start in one of the group games, but I'm just happy to score for the team. I thought I took my chance well and proved I'm capable of coming off the bench and making a difference.

I've played in a few positions this season and when we arrived at the training camp, the manager said he could see me being a winger when I'm older.

I told him I preferred playing as a striker but I don't mind doing a job on the right or left of midfield. He likes the way I can play in different positions, so that's a good thing. I'm happy to do it as well, because it helps me develop my game.

In training he helps me out by saying where I should be on the pitch. I'm happy to play under him because he's a very good manager. He's managed the likes of the England senior team, the Under-21s, Bahrain and loads of club sides. You learn a lot off him.

We have our first group game against Iraq on Sunday and we've been preparing since day one. We watched a video of them last night. They're a very good counter-attacking team and their full-backs like to bomb on. They're a good side and we can't take them for granted.

There's quite a bit of support back home, although my mates have all gone on the holiday I was supposed to be on! They're living it up in Spain at the moment but I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

I have had support from my mum, nan, sister and nephew too and I hope I can make them proud. They're all getting together to watch the game on Sunday, which is a great boost.

Even if I don't start, they're supporting us all the way. They're just proud that I've been selected, especially with this group being that little bit older.

They give me a lot of belief and hopefully we can do well. Hope you tune in for the game too!

Chris

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