Collinge loving German life

It’s all about experience and development for Danny Collinge – both at home and abroad.

The former MK Dons defender signed for VFB Stuttgart in the summer, and has been living in Germany for the last month before returning to these shores to join up with the England U17 squad at St. George’s Park.

The 16-year-old has featured in both of the Young Lions’ matches so far this week, drawing with Czech Republic before tasting defeat against Portugal on Friday, and now he is looking to end the week with a bang with victory over Italy on Sunday.

England v Portugal

The FA U17 International Tournament
3pm, Sunday 31 August
Pirelli Stadium, Burton Albion

“We are positive and looking forward to a good challenge. We would like to get a result and end the tournament on a high, so we are all looking to bounce back from the defeat against Portugal,” Collinge told TheFA.com.

“Playing football for your country is one of the most enjoyable experiences you’ll ever have. But we have also enjoyed it as we have tried to play football the right way, keep the ball and play with a purpose.

“It hasn’t come off results wise yet, but as the week’s gone on we have got better and we hope it will come to a climax against Italy.”

As one of a unique few England internationals that ply their trade abroad, Collinge’s story is certainly one of interest, and he says the opportunity to move to Germany was one that he could not refuse.

“I’ve only been in Stuttgart a month, but the style I’ve been playing out there is very European so it’s been good for me playing against Italy and Portugal this week,” he explained.

“Maybe it is a tad different in styles, but my defending has definitely improved since I’ve been out there.

“I’m having to step up my game a lot more and the standard is high constantly every match so I’m always having to be at my best. And when I come away with England, I come with a lot more confidence and feel that I have more skills at my availability.”

And on the move, Collinge added: ”It was one of those things that I had to do. Germany just seemed to me like a place that would suit my style of football. I’m quite comfortable with learning languages, which helps, and the culture isn’t too different. I’m having lessons in German, and it’s slowly getting there – and all the lads are really friendly.  It feels almost like home.

“I’ve moved out by myself, but I live with 20 other boys at the club with a chef, canteen etc and everything is catered for by the club for us.

“There is a lot to learn from European football and that has become evident over the last ten years or so. I think players in this country can get a different taste of things by going abroad, as well as experiencing a different culture.”

Collinge will be hoping to head back to Stuttgart with a victory under his belt against the Italians, a match which kicks-off at 3pm. 

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