While the Under 18s were kick-starting their Youth Alliance League season last Saturday, first-year scholars Brendan Galloway and Dele Alli were playing for England U-17s in the Nordic Tournament Final against Sweden.
Although losing 2-0 on the day, the England schoolboys did fantastically well to reach the final after cruising through their group with two wins and a draw.
Playing alongside youngsters from Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, both Brendan and Dele flew the Dons flag high in Faroe Islands and spoke to mkdons.com upon their return about their recent venture.
Brendan said: “It was a great experience playing for your national team, but I was a little nervous. Obviously it’s exciting to wear the shirt and play with players from top teams but playing in an international for the first time was a little nerve-wracking.”
Dele also admitted to being a little nervous but enjoyed his time away with the Three Lions.
“It was my first time away with England and it was really good. I knew a few boys from Tottenham and obviously Brendan but we quickly got split up and didn’t room together, which gave us a chance to bond with others quicker.”
Both players featured throughout the tournament with Dele starting all but one of the four matches with Brendan starting two and coming off the bench for the others.
The Dons Academy starlets both spoke of their pride and excitement at donning the St. George’s cross and singing the national anthem.
Brendan said: “It was a tad nerve-wracking playing in my first game but after a few touches it was just like playing a normal match. It was great to be stood out on the pitch with the national anthem playing, it was a very proud moment for me.”
Dele added: “I was really proud standing in the kit with the national anthem. I tried to sing it but didn’t know much more than the first chorus.”
The Nordic Tournament capped off an eventful summer for the two, who were also flown out to Dublin by manager Karl Robinson to spend four days with the first-team, an experience both players will no doubt benefit from.
Brendan told mkdons.com: “It was good going away with the first-team especially because they are very welcoming to all the youth players. It was great that we won all our games and I’m delighted to have got some time on the pitch with them.
Dele also expressed his delight at being part of side that won all three friendlies over in the Irish capital: “It was a great experience being away with the first-team although training was a bit harder and quicker.
“I played three games out there. I was nervous in the first match but after a couple of minutes it just feels normal. It was great to score too.