Winning mentality decisive for victorious England U-19s
news Mon 17 Jul 2017
England have enjoyed a glorious summer of tournament success at the younger age groups, thanks in no small part to a sizeable contingent of Chelsea Academy players.
More recently, with six of the 18-man squad hailing from our Academy, England Under-19s were crowned European champions at the weekend following a 2-1 victory over Portugal. However impressive those numbers might appear, the reality is they paint only a partial picture of the Chelsea impact, as outlined by Bournemouth’s young goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale in the aftermath of Saturday’s win.
‘We’ve got so much confidence as a group,’ he said. ‘Half of the team win trophies every season with Chelsea; they know how to win, how to calm everyone down and it makes a massive difference.’
The sentiment alludes to a winning mentality openly fostered in the youth development programme at the club and reinforced by our record of winning the FA Youth Cup in six of the past eight seasons as well as back-to-back UEFA Youth League titles in 2015 and 2016.
Mason Mount was a key figure as Keith Downing’s Under-19s won the tournament for the first time, claiming assists for both goals in the final. A Chelsea youngster since the age of six and Youth Cup captain last season, he knows the power that such belief can bring.
‘I knew 100 per cent that we would get to the final and win,’ he reflected at the end of the tournament. ‘We had so much confidence and the morale in the group was so good that I knew if we got through the group and the semi-final, we would win if we reached the final.
‘Having that winning mentality helps the group a lot and it comes from the boys at Man City as well, who are always getting to finals.’
Jay Dasilva wore the armband for the young Lions in Georgia and lifted the trophy in Tbilisi on Saturday evening. While no stranger to silverware success during his development years, the full-back admitted winning a trophy with England was particularly special.
‘It’s a great feeling to win a tournament like this,’ claimed the 19-year-old. ‘This is the first time I’ve personally won a tournament with England and caps off a great summer for the national team at youth level. It’s up there with one of the best and proudest moments of my career so far.
‘We just took it game by game, building up momentum and showing we have the confidence and ability to win the tournament. It’s a credit to us overcoming all the different obstacles we had to face so I’m proud of all the boys because we definitely deserved this.’
Trevoh Chalobah’s tournament was cruelly cut short after the final group game as he returned home injured after falling awkwardly on his ankle. The defender watched his team-mates in the final at Cobham before making a surprise appearance at Heathrow arrivals to welcome them home and collect his medal.
‘Since Trevoh left the group with an injury, we’ve been motivated to win it for him,' Dasilva continued. 'He was a big miss but we dedicated the victory to him.
‘It was purely ecstatic and relief at the final whistle. Seeing all the boys and staff running on to the pitch and being together, it was a nice feeling. Everyone is buzzing and it proves we have the talent in the youth teams; now it’s just about the timing of getting the chance and hopefully us boys can take it.’