Men's Team

Lewis: It’s a lovely birthday present!

Rico Lewis says he couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present after making his England debut against North Macedonia.

Lewis, who will be 19 on Tuesday, enjoyed his last day as an 18-year-old playing for his country at senior level for the first time.

And he capped a memorable night with the England Man of the Match award - a remarkable but fully deserved achievement.

Speaking after the game, the City Academy graduate admitted he was thrilled to have won his first cap, but says it was tinged with disappointment after a harsh penalty was awarded against him.

“Obviously, overall I’m very happy, though obviously not with the result or the decision that went against me,” said Lewis.

“But I’m really happy to have made my debut and it’s a lovely birthday present - and to do it with the people I have around me, I couldn’t have dreamed of anything better.”

Asked whether he believed he could make the England squad for next summer’s European Championships, Lewis played down his chances.


“I’m not really focused on any tournaments or anything in the future – all I can do is focus on myself and what I can do to get better and what will be will be.

“I just need to focus on the things I can improve on, and we’ll see what happens.”

England boss Gareth Southgate was delighted with what he saw from the City youngster.

“He was excellent,” said Southgate.

“His composure with the ball, the fact that he did respond to that set-back (the penalty), which was really, really harsh.

“He is a super footballer; he was excellent I thought, and we're really pleased with him.”

And the two England skippers on the night concurred, with Kyle Walker - leading the Three Lions out for the first time – adding: “He’s a great lad and he shows us his qualities day in, day out.

“To play in a team like we have at City – he deserves this cap, because I think he’s been fantastic so first and foremost, congratulations and happy birthday for tomorrow!”

Harry Kane, who took the armband on for the last 30 minutes of the game, added: “He can be very proud of his debut.

“I thought he was fantastic throughout the game, so he just needs to keep working hard, as I’m sure he will, and I’m sure he’ll be back with us and on the pitch very soon.”

Also in action tonight was 18-year-old City EDS left-back Tomas Galvez.

Galvez, winning his third senior cap for Finland, enjoyed an eventful 90 minutes during a 2-1 win away to San Marino, assisting the second Finnish goal and collecting a yellow card.

Congratulations to Rico and Tomas on a proud evening for Manchester City's Academy.