““I’ve definitely come back with confidence, and felt really sharp!"”
Grimsby Town youth academy graduate Harry Clifton
Grimsby Town midfielder Harry Clifton enjoyed his first taste of international duty in the Wales U21 squad’s training camp.
The 20-year-old Town youth academy graduate trained with Rob Page’s Wales U21s last week, before playing in Town’s 0-0 Sky Bet League Two draw with Bury at Blundell Park on Saturday.
And Clifton is now eager to be selected for Wales in their U21 European Championship qualifiers against Belgium and Germany in September.
He said: “It was good. I trained there for the week down in South Wales – it was good to meet all the lads because they come from different backgrounds and academies.
“And it was just about seeing how Wales want to play, and copying from the first-team, and bringing it into U21 level, so they were good training sessions, and the tempo was really sharp so I really enjoyed it.
“I’ve definitely come back with confidence, and felt really sharp in the training camp.
“I had to be aware all the time – there was no rest, but I think that benefitted me and I felt like I put in a good showing so hopefully it comes to something.
“But hopefully it’s not just a one-off, hopefully it’s something that I can do for the next season – that’s the aim.
“I’ve come away knowing what I might need to do to get in the Wales U21 squad so I’ll focus on that.
“My focus is that I’ll be eligible for all the qualifiers from September onwards, but I’m not taking anything for granted – I need to be selected first.”
But Clifton highlighted that he must maintain his good performance levels with Michael Jolley’s side in League Two to warrant more opportunities among the Wales U21 squad.
He said: “I need to keep my levels up and hopefully keep playing so I’m just focusing on playing for Grimsby Town now, and finishing the season off well.
“We haven’t got many games left, but we need to make sure we give a good account of ourselves, ready to go into next season, so that’s the most important thing.
“And then whatever happens at international level is the extra bonus!”
And Clifton spoke to ex-Town striker Jack Lester, who is now the Wales U21 assistant manager, about his time at Blundell Park.
He said: “We had a bit of banter about Grimsby Town because he’s obviously a past player, but we didn’t have lengthy conversations.
“Obviously there were a lot of new lads so they had to get through talking to them, and making them comfortable.”
Updated 16:17 - 25 Mar 2019 by Adam Smith