Cooke outlines ambitions

Callum Cooke says England U18s can still find “another gear” as he outlined his aims for club and country.

The Middlesbrough midfielder played a part in the both of the Young Lions’ matches against Holland this week, starting in the 4-1 win on Wednesday before appearing as a late sub in the 3-1 victory at Bury’s JD Stadium on Friday.

Having been a part of the squad that triumphed in the European U17 Championship in Malta back in May, the youngster and his team-mates have now moved up an age group, and Cooke says their opening two wins of the season has left the camp in good spirits.

England 3-1 Netherlands

U18s International Match
Friday 5 September 2014
JD Stadium, Bury FC
Attendance 2,579

“Yet again I’ve had another great week away with the lads,” he told TheFA.com. “And it was great to see them all again after the fabulous summer we had.

“Most importantly, it was vital we kicked-off this campaign well, and we got two very tough wins against Holland – so morale is high again.”

Despite having overcome the team they defeated on penalties in the final of the Euros twice, Cooke agrees with his England manager boss Neil Dewsnip that they can still produce much more.

“The manager said in his team-talks that he thought we had another gear, and I’d go along with that.

“We maybe found it a little hard with it being our first games at U18 level, playing under a new manager, so it will take time to gel fully – but at the same time we still beat a very good Dutch side twice.”

He continued: “It was another two caps for me, and I was very happy to be selected again – I hope there’s many more to come at this age group.

Callum Cooke in action for England against Holland on Wednesday

Cooke in action for England against Holland on Wednesday

“There’s no better feeling that playing for your country, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of.

It also gives you a massive lift going back to your club.”

And on his targets for the upcoming season, the attacker has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve.

“For me, personally, I want to try and push on and break into the first-team squad at Boro,” he added.

“I need to keep working hard, pushing myself to improve, and hopefully I’ll get an opportunity.

“And on the international front, we have a lot of tough and testing matches coming up, so that’s my short-term ambition to work my way into the next England squad.”