Sims inspired by Neville

Josh Sims says an “inspired” talk by Phil Neville has given him the motivation to “be the best” he can be.

Former Manchester United and Everton defender Neville, who won 59 caps for England, met Sims and his U18s team-mates at Bury FC’s JD Stadium on Thursday to discuss his career and be the subject of a Q&A with Neil Dewsnip’s youngsters – and his words have had an impact on the Southampton youngster.

“I thought it was brilliant and really interesting. I’ve taken a lot from it,” said Sims.

England v Netherlands

U18s International Match
7.30pm, Friday 5 September 2014
JD Stadium, Bury FC

“It’s good to hear it from someone who has been there at the highest level, and we enjoyed asking him questions and hearing his advice.”

He added: “He emphasised the importance of extra work after training, and that was probably the main point that I’ll take away from it – and I’ll definitely take that back with me to Southampton.

“He spoke of how important it is to push on, and I agree with him and I want to work as hard as I can to be the best I can be.”

Sims and his team-mates are preparing for a rematch with Holland tonight after defeating them 4-1 on Wednesday – a game that saw Sims produce a brilliant individual goal and an assist for Adam Armstrong.

Ties with the Dutch hold a lot of fond memories for Sims, having scored on his England U17s debut against them in February before he was a part of the squad that defeated them in May in the European Championship Final.

Phil Neville met the England U18s on Thursday

Phil Neville met the England U18s on Thursday

“It seems like it I have a thing for playing Holland – and a thing for England debuts,” smiled the 17-year-old. “Everyone played well, and we deserved it. We dominated for the majority of the match and I really enjoyed it.”

On his partnership with Newcastle United striker Armstrong, Sims added: “Arma is a really good player to play with. He’s got really good movement, which makes it a lot easier for me when you have someone like that up front, and he can always spin behind – just like he did for his first goal when I played him through.

“He can come to feet as well, which shows he’s good at both. I love playing with someone like that as they give me so many different options.”

And Sims was particularly pleased with his goal after a lot of hard work on the training pitch.

England 4-1 Holland

“It was Arma again who started it off on the halfway line. He’s won the challenge, and it’s fell to me. I can remember the centre back coming across so quickly, so I decided to take a touch past him. I just carried on running into the box and finished with my left foot.

“I’ve been practising a lot on my left recently, so I was made up to see it go in.

“It was a great feeling, and playing for England makes it that little bit more special. I was blowing afterwards though, so I’m glad it went in!”

Having come a long way since making his international bow at the Algarve Tournament at the beginning of this year, Sims admits it’s been something of a whirlwind few months for him – but the determined attacker is targeting another win tonight, although he knows it will not be an easy task.

“It’s happened in such a short time, with all these amazing things that have happened, it’s crazy really.

“Friday is another hard game, they’ll have a different starting eleven, and we know how tough it’s going to be – but we want to end the week with another win.”