Ainsley Maitland-Niles is aiming to make history after helping the England U20s reach the World Cup final.
- The England U20s are the first England team to reach a World Cup final since 1966
- Maitland-Niles played 90 minutes in semi-final against Italy
- The final will be played on Sunday against Venezuela
The 19-year-old has featured regularly in central midfield for the U20 side and has helped his team reach a historic final.
The last time a men’s team reached a World Cup final – at senior or youth level – was 1966, England’s one and only World Cup triumph.
Their victory against Italy was already a record breaking moment for the team, as they’re now the most successful England U20s team. The last time an U20 side even progressed past the group stages of the competition was in 1993.
Understandably, Maitland-Niles is proud of the achievement.
“It feels fantastic to make history, the first time since 1966 and it makes us feel so proud to know the country is right behind us,” he said.
“We’re now dreaming of lifting the trophy, that’s what we’re all hoping for and it’s an incredible feeling to play for England and hopefully go all the way.”
England had to come from behind to defeat Italy and Maitland-Niles believe confidence is high in the team.
“We stayed calm even when we went behind, we played well and now we hope we can win the final. We can’t get carried away and push ourselves too much but we feel we are a good team as anyone and can beat anyone.”
The U20 World Cup is a prestigious competition where some of the world’s best players – the likes Sergio Aguero, Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba – have shone.
It’d be a remarkable achievement were England to win it.
England will play the final against Venezuela his Sunday.