ONE player above all can’t wait for next Wednesday’s U18 England international on home turf at the One Call Stadium.
England U17 and Derby County striker Mason Bennett hails from just up the road in Langwith and will be watching with interest as the U18s, the next level he will be wearing the Three Lions shirt at, take on Italy.
“I grew up in Langwith and the first football team I played for was Shirebrook Rangers,” he said.
“I played for them up until I was 11 or 12 years of age and then I got scouted by Derby in my first year at secondary school. I started out at centre-half would you believe, until I changed to a striker at Derby.
“It’s brilliant that Mansfield is getting the chance to host an England international.
“I played a pre-season friendly at Field Mill in the summer and it was good to see all my family and friends turn out and watch the game.
“It’s a great chance for the local community to watch England as it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around often on your doorstep.
“Having grown up in the area I’m sure people will come out and support the lads and hopefully they get a decent result on the night.”
He continued: “Ever since I’ve returned from the St George’s Park tournament with England I’ve been training and playing with the first team at Derby on a more regular basis.
“Travelling with the squad to places like Bolton has been a fantastic experience for me and I’m continuing to learn every day in training.
“Having played for England U16s/U17s over the past year, hopefully I will get the opportunity to play at Under 18s level in the future.
“I’ve enjoyed playing for England and it’s a huge honour to represent your country at any level, I hope to continue my development for England and playing first team football at Derby can only help this.
On England’s new St George’s Park training base in Burton, he added: “The facilities are incredible, the hotel is amazing and the pitch we’ve been training on is in a perfect condition for us, and I believe it’s a replica of Wembley.
“St George’s Park is the ideal place to train, relax in between games, be ourselves around the place, and more importantly for us to focus on our games and continue to improve for England.”
Tickets for the Italy game are priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, and can be purchased by calling Mansfield Town Football Club’s ticket line on 01623 482 482.