Lowe ready to give the Max

Max Lowe is looking to put the agony of missing out on a European Championship winner’s medal behind him by helping England to a first win on Italian soil for 14 years.

The Derby County youngster was a regular for John Peacock’s U17 squad last season until he suffered an ankle injury in March – forcing him out for the rest of season and the Euros in the May.

Italy v England

U18 International
2pm, Wednesday 24 September 2014
Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato, Caorle

Now firing on all cylinders again, the left-back is in Caorle with Neil Dewsnip’s U18 squad preparing for Wednesday’s encounter with the Azzurri. And although he admits that it feels “great” to be back with the Young Lions, he will not be satisfied unless he can help them pick up a victory at Stadio Giovanni Chiggiato.

“It’s been a long wait,” Lowe told TheFA.com. “I’ve been raring to go since I had my operation and feel 100 per cent fit now.

“I snapped three ligaments in my left ankle during training back in March as I turned to get the ball – my ankle just shattered. It was that badly swollen that I had to wait two weeks for an operation.”

Lowe had been involved in Peacock’s squad up until the Algarve Tournament in February before the blow occurred, but he says that a meeting with the squad prior to their departure to glory in Malta gave him all the motivation he needed to make a full recovery.

“John [Peacock] invited me to see the squad at St. George’s Park before they flew out. That was great to be able to see the lads and wish them good luck before they went. I knew that they’d do well and they did a great job.

“It was hard at the time, but seeing the lads I’d been with in the U17s go on and win the European Championship it just gave me that extra bit of motivation to get back involved with them this season, and luckily I’ve managed to do that.”

Lowe is concentrating on his development and has been involved in several first-team squads at his club – and he can feel his game coming on under the guidance of a former England manager.

“It’s a great experience working under Steve McClaren, and being involved with the U21s too is a great learning curve for me. I’m learning new things every day in training.

“Over the last year I think my whole defensive game has improved – both individually and working in a unit as a back four.”

And it is not only a former Three Lions boss that his helping him improve his game, as Lowe admits to being a huge fan of a former England left back who is plying his trade in Italy for Roma.

Ashley Cole tracks Ukraine

Ashley Cole is a hero to Max Lowe

“Ashley Cole has always been up there since I started playing the game,” said Lowe. “He’s done it for such a long period of time, which not many left-backs have done, and I’d always have him up there as the best.

“The way he can get forward, yet still come out on top defensively against some of the best wingers in the world – he is top quality.

“I’ll study how he plays, looking at the timing of his runs going forward, the way he handles his 1v1 stuff, and all the communication he has too on the field.

“I’ll go to Derby first-team games, and I’ll watch our left-back Fozzy [Craig Forsyth] and study how he plays too – I always want to learn.”

“We have great ability going forward and we have to use that”

Max Lowe 

After a seven-month absence from the international fold, Lowe is pleased to see that the mentality of the group remains the same as ever – and he says he and his team-mates are determined to leave northern Italy with a win.

“A lot of new lads have come in and the squad has gelled really well together. Freddie [Woodman] has been a great captain, getting all the lads involved in activities, and the spirit has been first-class on this trip.”

“Physically, we know Italy are very good but we can match that. We have great ability going forward and we have to use that.”

He added: “It’s completely different playing away games with your country. Going and experiencing different cultures, plus the weather here is very hot, so we have to learn to adapt and hopefully go on and win the game.

“Even if it is only a friendly we always want to win – it’s what we always come to do.”