Czech me out says Irons Euro star
PUBLISHED: 11:06 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 05 October 2010
By JONATHAN CLEGG TEENAGE hotshot Freddie Sears gave West Ham fans a glimpse of his star potential last season. Now he is aiming to make an impression on a wider audience – by firing England to glory at this month s European Under-19 championships in the
By JONATHAN CLEGG
TEENAGE hotshot Freddie Sears gave West Ham fans a glimpse of his star potential last season.
Now he is aiming to make an impression on a wider audience - by firing England to glory at this month's European Under-19 championships in the Czech Republic.
Sears reported to pre-season training at West Ham this week but the 18-year-old will soon bid farewell to his club colleagues as he and team-mate James Tomkins link up with the Young Lions ahead of the tournament's opening game against the hosts in Liberec on Monday.
The West Ham striker played a key role in England's qualification for the finals, scoring a vital brace on his first full start for the national team in a 2-0 win against Poland in May.
The result helped Brian Eastick's side win the decisive Elite round qualifying tournament in Belarus and capped a remarkable season for Sears, who made his first-team breakthrough following a prolific campaign for the youth and reserve sides.
The Hornchurch youngster announced his arrival as a major new talent in memorable style, scoring the winning goal against Blackburn Rovers within six minutes of appearing as a substitute.
And Sears admits that he cannot wait to return to action next week - as he attempts to continue his rich vein of goalscoring form.
He said: "It's been unbelievable what has happened. To come into the team at West Ham and score a goal and then start playing a few games - I didn't really see it happening at the start of the season when I broke my ankle.
"It was a great way to end the season so it was a shame that it ended, but now we're going to the European championships it's like a way to end that season off and start the new season."
Sears and Tomkins face a tough challenge when they fly out to the eight-nation tournament, where they will also battle Italy and Greece in the hope of reaching the semi-finals.
But Sears is eager to test himself against the best young players in Europe and plans to use the experience to make him a better player for West Ham.
"Obviously you're going to see great players out there and Italy is the game that stands out in the group stage," said Sears.
"I think a few of the best players in the world have played at this tournament so it should be a high standard but whoever the team plays, we'll be trying to do a good job for England.
"We've been working hard [on fitness training], which is all good for getting back to pre-season.
"You've got to get some running under your belt and I think if we get to the final it will be five games, which will be good for us when we return to our clubs.
"[Alan Curbishley] spoke to me and Tomkins and said: 'Go away with England and do your best and then come back and be ready for the start of the season.'
"I will come back stronger and hopefully play more games [at West Ham] and see where it takes me.
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box below for details.