Cheltenham Town goalkeeper Josh Griffiths has expressed how it was “a proud moment” when he discovered he was selected for England’s U21 side for the upcoming international break.
The 19-year-old has kept 16 clean sheets in his 34 league appearances for the Robins this season, and as a result has been chosen to represent his country for the EURO U21 group stages.
Selected alongside the likes of Mason Greenwood, Emile Smith-Rowe and Eddie Nketiah, England will face Switzerland, Portugal and Croatia on March 25, 28 and 31 respectively.
In his reaction to joining goalkeepers Aaron Ramsdale and Josef Bursik in the squad, Griffiths gleamed, “I was delighted, it’s a big achievement and a huge honor to represent your country and to get called up for the Under 21s as well.
“Obviously, it’s the qualifiers for a big tournament that I’ve been selected to be a part of, so it was definitely a proud moment. “
Griffiths is currently enjoying a successful first loan spell away from West Bromwich Albion this season, helping Cheltenham in their push for automatic promotion from League Two, as they sit top of the league.
Having made some crucial saves for Michael Duff and his team, he was greeted with a lot of applause on his achievement of an international call-up.
“They (Cheltenham teammates) were happy for me,” he said. “They gave me a big congratulations and a well done. I’ve also had loads of messages from fans social media and teammates back at West Brom, so overall it was a really positive reaction.
“It’s nice to know you’re doing something right if you get called up into that squad, and it just shows that they watch all leagues and standards of football. So as long as you’re playing well, I think there’s always a chance.”
Recognised by England for his stand-out performances all season long, Griffiths is the only player in the 23-man squad to be drafted in from either League One or League Two.
“I was a little bit surprised by the call,” he reveals. “Obviously being 19, I could still play for the Under 20s. So, as you can imagine, it was a little bit of a shock in terms of the age group I’ve been selected for.
“I’m always thinking about trying to get into the international squads and playing as well as I can for Cheltenham. That sort of thing can really help going forward in my career.”
Griffiths goes on to admit that without his crucial spell at Cheltenham, he would be missing out on these upcoming internationals.
“I don’t think the opportunity would come up unless I was out on loan playing regular first team football, doing that at 19, you can’t really put a price on it in terms of experience and what it gives you on your CV moving forward.”