TheFA.com announced today that Manchester United’s 19-year old defender would captain the England U19 side that has travelled to Estonia for the UEFA U19 Championships. England U19 Head Coach, Noel Blake chose Thorpe as captain because of his impressive form shown during the Elite Qualifying Round in May. Thorpe played as both a central defender and a central midfielder in the matches to qualify for the finals in Estonia, he also scored a goal against Slovenia at Deepdale, Preston.
Thorpe is considered as a more experienced player for England U19, seeing has he has played for U16, U17 and U18 levels, prior to being selected for the U19’s. Tom was also part of the U17 squad who became European Champions in Liechtenstein back in 2010.
Tom was delighted to be given the chance to become England U19 captain. He told TheFA.com “I was very honoured and pleased that he (Blake) asked me,” Thorpe told TheFA.com. “Hopefully I can lead the team and show an example. It was a bit of a surprise to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it at all, but I’m honoured and we’re just ready to get started now.” Tom is no stranger to wearing the armband as he lead the Manchester United to FA Youth Cup glory in the 2010/11 season.
With many different players including Sam Johnstone, Nathaniel Chalobah, Conor Coady, John Lundstram and George Thorne all having captained England at various levels over the last few seasons, Thorpe knows this is a strong group of characters and leaders.
“I don’t think it (the captaincy) changes how you play and there’s a few players who have experience of it in this squad, both with England and with their clubs as well,” he said. “It won’t change much on the pitch for me, we will have three or four captains out there. I’ve done it before at club level, I was captain when we won The FA Youth Cup and that was a great experience.”
The England U19 squad for the U19 European Championships is;
Goalkeepers; Sam Johnstone (Manchester United) and Connor Ripley (Middlesbrough)
Defenders; Jack Robinson (Liverpool), Tom Thorpe, Michael Keane (both Manchester United), Luke Garbutt (Everton) and Eric Dier (also Everton but on loan from Sporting CP)
Midfielders; George Thorne (West Bromwich Albion), Conor Coady (Liverpool), Ross Barkley, John Lundstram (both Everton), Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea) and Nathan Redmond (Birmingham City)
Forwards; Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), Benik Afobe (Arsenal), Robert Hall (West Ham United) and Hallam Hope (Everton)
Manchester United team-mate William Keane was also due to be in the squad but, an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee was damaged during an England U19 match against Switzerland, which could see him sidelined for up to nine months.
England U19 play their first game of the tournament tomorrow (Tuesday 3rd July) at 15:30 GMT, against Croatia, their second game on Friday 6th July against Serbia KO 15:30 GMT, and their final group match against France on Monday 9th July KO 18:00 GMT.
By Paul Bienkowski