Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith’s joy over England Under-21 call-up

Joe Wildsmith
Joe Wildsmith

Rookie goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith has expressed his delight over being included in the latest England Under-21 squad.

The 20-year-old, who has recently recovered from a back problem, will be looking to earn his first cap for the Three Lions when they take on Switzerland next week.

Wildsmith, a lifelong Owls supporter, has caught the eye as as back-up for No 1 choice Keiren Westwood this season.

The youngster has racked up 12 appearances, recording five shut-outs. He was promoted to the England U21 set-up last October.

“It’s been a big season for me so far and I’m very proud of what’s been achieved and there are a lot of people to thank,” he said.

“The gaffer has been brilliant with me and goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes has shown a lot of faith in me and I hope I’ve repaid them a little with my performances.”

Wildsmith is likely to be on the bench in England’s European Championship qualifier against the Swiss, which takes place at the Stockhorn Arena in Thun a week on Saturday, kick-off 6pm.

Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford is set to get the nod in between the sticks for Gareth Southgate’s side. Brighton’s Christian Walton has also been selected along with uncapped trio Matt Grimes, Rolando Aarons and Isaac Hayden.

At the halfway stage of their eight-game qualification campaign, England sit three points clear at the top of Group 9. Last time out, they beat Switzerland 3-1 at the Amex Stadium.

“It was a good game in terms of quality but it also had an edge to it.” he said. “Switzerland will want to get revenge for the result but it is a key game for us in terms of qualifying for the Finals, and a good preparation for the Toulon Tournament.”