Moore’s stepping stones

Liam Moore believes he’s enjoyed a perfect pathway to international football so far and hopes he can end it by helping England Under-21s to the Euro finals next summer.

The Leicester City defender was a newcomer to Gareth Southgate’s squad midway through last season, having become a firm favourite at the King Power Stadium as the Foxes stormed to the Championship title.

And after being among the pick of England’s best performers at the Toulon Tournament in France this summer, Moore has taken that form into the new season as Nigel Pearson’s side tackle the challenge of the Premier League.

Leicester City

Moore in action for Leicester against Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil on Sunday

“It’s been a good stepping stone for me, in the order that I’ve played football and it’s worked out pretty well,” explained the 21-year-old.

“I was playing regularly in the Championship and then made the step-up to the Under-21s and played a few games to get some experience, which I could take back into the Championship.

“And what I’ve learned with the Under-21s has definitely helped me out in the Premier League, as the football there is a bit more similar to the Under-21s football.”

Unlike many of his squad mates, Moore is a relative newcomer to the international scene after only making his international debut for the Under-21s in November 2012.

But he feels that his education in coming through Leicester’s youth academy and into their first team as a teenager has helped him now he’s in the top flight and is hoping to help England to a double victory in Lithuania and Moldova this week as the Three Lions bring their Euro qualifying group to a close.

“It’s important that you’re doing well for your club or else you’re not going to get the chance at international level,” he added.

“What I’ve learned with the Under-21s has definitely helped me out in the Premier League.”

Liam Moore 

“I’m happy that I got selected mid-way through last season after Gareth came to a few of our games in the Championship.

“I’ve been able to take my experience from playing regularly in the Championship onto the international stage to show what I can do at this level and try to prove to the manager that I can definitely take part and do a job for them.”

The Three Lions squad will fly out to Kaunas on Thursday in time for Friday’s game with Lithuania and from there, it’s on to Tiraspol for their final Euro group fixture against Moldova.

With Southgate’s squad already confirmed as group winners and in the draw for next month’s Euro qualifiers, the group know they are likely to face one of Europe’s best nations for a place in the finals.

And despite facing top nations like Brazil, Portugal, Colombia and South Korea in Toulon in order to test themselves against some top opponents, Moore is now focused on this week’s double-header in eastern Europe.

“Toulon was a great experience and it gave us that test against different opponents and I thought we did well out there,” he said. 

“It was a good test for us, but these next two games will be another challenge in difficult circumstances.

“Sometimes travelling abroad can be tricky but it’s all part and parcel of playing for your country and it’s only going to do us a favour with the play-off coming up.”

Moore is also aware that competition for places in Southgate’s squad remains strong, with a number of players vying for a spot in defence.

Liam Moore in training with England Under-21s.

Liam Moore has become a regular choice in Southgate’s squad

With only two games in the group stages left to play, no-one is in doubt that Southgate and his staff will be considering their future options.

“It’s a squad full of quality and we have good players in all positions,” he revealed.

“It’s important for us to keep training as well as we can and get our chance, as we have done over the last year, to show what we can do.

“It’s not just about these next few games, it’s about what you’ve done through the season and we want to keep continuing to do well for our clubs to be in with a shout of playing here.”

That’s certainly something which Moore has been doing of late, after starting the new campaign in good form with the Foxes.

He’s caught the eye in what had been a tricky looking start to life back in the top flight against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton and admits he’s been enjoying things so far.

“It’s been a great start, but a difficult one with three of the top five teams from last season,” he admitted. 

“As a team I think we’ve done really well and could possibly have had a couple more points on the board than we’ve got.

“But that can only be a positive because of the top teams that we’ve faced.”