Two City Academy starlets have travelled to Chile aiming for World Cup glory with England.
Will Patching and Marcus Wood, both members of Jason Wilcox’s exciting u18s squad who have lost just one league game so far this term, have been selected to represent the Three Lions at the u17 World Cup, which kicks off on Saturday.
Neil Dewsnip’s squad have been drawn in Group B, and will kick off their tournament against Guinea on Saturday night, before taking on Brazil on Tuesday and finish their group stage campaign against South Korea on Friday 23 October.
The top two teams will progress to the knockout rounds, where they will face one of Chile, Croatia, Nigeria or the USA.
Both City representatives played a part in England’s final warm up match against the tournament hosts on Sunday, when the Young Lions fought hard for a 0-0 draw before losing the friendly on penalties.
Patching, who started the game in front of an 8,500-strong partisan crowd, revealed: “It was a great experience playing in front of a large crowd, even though they gave us a bit of stick, it was good to get a taste of that.
“When we play in England, you usually don’t get that many people coming to watch you, so to have thousands there in a big stadium, it was really special.”
The squad have now arrived in La Serena, their base for the rest of the competition, and 17-year-old Will is now keen to focus on the challenge ahead, starting with Guinea at the weekend.
He added: “From now we have to fully focus on the opening game. We’ve had a lot of good preparation with two tough games, but now we have arrived at our base we are settling in.
“We’ve got our first training session in La Serena later on and we can get down to business ahead ahead of Saturday.”
A set-piece specialist, the City midfielder came agonisingly close to finding the winner against Chile with a well-struck free kick.
Although he was disappointed not to hit the back of the net, it has left him with the determination to work even harder on the training field, in the hope that he can make the difference when it counts.
“If I had put it a yard to the left it would have gone in. I practice my free-kicks after training all the time, trying different techniques and putting them in different places,” Patching asserted.
“A set-piece is a good weapon to have, especially in a tournament like this when the games could be tight. Practice is vital so that when the time comes you have the confidence to know that you can pull it off.
“If I’d stuck that one in on Sunday then we could have won it 1-0, so I’ll keep working on them and hopefully I can make one count out here.”
Patching has been handed the no.7 shirt for the duration of the tournament, while club and international teammate Marcus Wood will wear no.8.
Although he normally wears 8 or 10 when he pulls on City blue, the youngster is hoping to take some inspiration from former England skipper and no.7, David Beckham.
He said: “Even though my position isn’t really a number seven position I like the number. It’s what David Beckham used to wear for England, and obviously he produced some vital moments for England with set-pieces, so I’d love to be able to hopefully do the same for us.”
We’ll be keeping you up-to-date with how the boys get on right here on mcfc.co.uk.
Goalkeepers: 1 Paul Woolston (Newcastle United), 13 Will Huffer (Leeds United), 21 Alfie Whiteman (Tottenham Hotspur)
Defenders: 2 James Yates (Everton), 3 Jay DaSilva (Chelsea), 5 Danny Collinge (Stuttgart), 6 Ro-Shaun Williams (Manchester United), 12 Tayo Edun (Fulham), 15 Easah Suliman (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: 4 Tom Davies (Everton), 7 Will Patching (Manchester City), 8 Marcus Wood (Manchester City), 10 Marcus Edwards (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Chrissy Willock (Arsenal), 14 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 18 Herbie Kane (Liverpool)
Forwards: 9 Kaylen Hinds (Arsenal), 16 Stephy Mavididi (Arsenal), 17 Kazaiah Sterling (Tottenham Hotspur), 19 Ike Ugbo (Chelsea), 20 Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Aston Villa)