Young defender reflects upon first taste of international football and England Under-21s' recent success in France
Having lifted the Toulon Tournament trophy with England’s Under-21s on Sunday night, academy graduate Rob Holding admitted that the past few weeks have been ones he will never forget.
Earning two caps for the Young Lions during the competition against Guinea and Japan – keeping a clean sheet against the latter and playing the full 80 minutes in both games – the annual tournament concluded on Sunday evening with Gareth Southgate’s side defeating hosts France in the showpiece final.
The first time since 1994 that England’s youngsters have secured the accolade, Holding – who received his call-up only three weeks ago – couldn’t hide his delight at experiencing his first taste of international football.
“I really enjoyed being involved in the tournament,” he said in an exclusive interview with bwfc.co.uk. “It was a fantastic experience, being out there with the players and the staff.
“There was a really positive vibe between everybody from the second we linked up together, right throughout the group, so that definitely made it easier to go and play.
“From my point of view, making my debut against Guinea, it was such a proud moment to put the shirt on and play for England and it’s one that will stay with me forever.”
He added: “It was a real team effort though – to win a tournament is a great feeling, but to do it for your country is just surreal.
“I just hope that personally I showed what I’m about as a player and that I can eventually earn a few more caps in the future.”
Holding also took time to express his gratitude to the club’s fans – many of whom have been supporting the 20-year-old via social media throughout the duration of the tournament.
“I’d like to thank the fans back home for their support,” said the defender. “They’ve been absolutely brilliant and it gave me such a boost.
“All the messages I’ve received from Bolton fans have been amazing and I genuinely can’t thank them enough for getting behind me and the lads like they have.”
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