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Cartwright reflects on making debut for England U20s

5 April 2022

Goalkeeper Harvey Cartwright says playing for England U20s was an unbelievable experience...

The 19-year-old started the Three Lions’ first game of 2022, a Europe Elite League away fixture against Poland at the Stadion Miejski in Bielsko-Biała. Cartwright played the full game and despite the end result seeing Poland defeat England 2-0, the goalkeeper was happy to earn his first cap at Under-20s level.

“To receive my first cap for the Under-20s is just amazing,” said Cartwright.

“When I found out I was starting, I was buzzing and I just couldn’t wait to play for my country. It was a surreal experience to play the game. To sing the national anthem was probably the most incredible part, because you hear it all the time when the seniors are playing, so to be a part of a starting XI and sing and represent my country was an unbelievable feeling.

“It was a tough game, because it was away in Poland and their fans came in their numbers to support their national team. Plus, they were a really good side. We just didn’t have that cutting edge on the day and we didn’t take our chances, but it was a good experience and good learning curve for us. The team took that result into the Germany game and we managed to right our wrongs from that game and get the win.”

The Under-20s secured a 3-1 victory over Germany in their other fixture, with Cartwright being an unused substitute in the impressive win. Manchester City’s and current Bolton Wanderers’ loanee James Trafford started that fixture, with Ajax’s Charlie Setford sitting alongside Cartwright on the substitutes’ bench, and the Grimsby-born goalkeeper said both goalkeepers have big futures in the game.

“James is currently playing at Bolton week in, week out and at 19-years-old, is a really good thing to do. He’s a very good goalkeeper and it’s great to have competition like him and he was a good lad as well that I got on well with. Charlie is younger and he too is a very good goalkeeper and I imagine he will have a very good career when he is older. We all got on really well and Neil Moss (Goalkeeper Coach) and Andy Edwards (Manager) were class with me.”

It has been a whirlwind season for Cartwright so far, starting the season out on loan at Gainsborough Trinity, before making his senior debut for the Tigers back in February. Now after earning his first cap at Under-20s level for England, Cartwright summarised what he says has been a “crazy year.”

“I don’t think I can put it into words. From where I started from going out on loan to Gainsborough, which helped me so much, to then making my senior debut in the Championship and then playing for England; it’s what you dream of,” explained Cartwright.

“All that hard work over the past 12 years that I have been putting in has paid off. It has been a year of learning and developing for the next year and hopefully in years to come, it’ll become natural for me to play these big games and get these call-ups in the future.”

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