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Gibbs-White keen on England Under-21 captaincy

The Wolves midfielder played during the disappointing European Championships in the summer.

Morgan Gibbs-White believes he could become England Under-21 captain (Nigel French/PA)
Morgan Gibbs-White believes he could become England Under-21 captain (Nigel French/PA)

By Phil Medlicott, PA

Morgan Gibbs-White feels he has the attributes to be England Under-21s captain and admits he would love to take the role on.

The midfielder is one of three players – along with Phil Foden and Reiss Nelson – in the current squad who were part of the group that went to the summer’s European Championships in Italy and San Marino.

He only made his debut for the team as a substitute in the final match of that disappointing campaign, the 3-3 draw with Croatia, but the 19-year-old has made over 50 senior appearances for Wolves.

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Morgan Gibbs-White (Nigel French/PA)

Ahead of the Euro 2021 qualifiers against Turkey away on Friday and Kosovo in Hull three days later, Young Lions boss Aidy Boothroyd has said Gibbs-White could be in contention for the captaincy.

And when asked how he felt about the possibility of skippering the team, Gibbs-White said: “I’ve definitely got those qualities and I’d love to be the captain of this incredible, talented under-21s side.

“But we’re all still working hard, putting the work in, so it’s up to the manager who he decides the captain is.

“I’m sure whoever it is going to be is going to take to it like a duck to water.”

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Boothroyd has sung the praises of Wolves’ Gibbs-White (Nick Potts/PA)

Boothroyd said of the Wolves academy product, who scored his first goal for the club last month when they beat Pyunik 4-0 in Europa League qualifying: “He’s a terrific character and that’s the first thing we look at when we bring lads in, their character. He’s doing exceptionally well.

“I’ve seen him play a couple of time this year. He will get games because of Wolves’ fixture list.

“And he is one who could well be in the leadership team and put himself around the captaincy I would think.”

In terms of other potential candidates to succeed Jake Clarke-Salter as captain, Boothroyd’s present squad also includes Everton midfielder Tom Davies, an experienced player at under-21 level who missed the summer’s tournament due to injury.

England registered their worst performance in the competition since 2013 as they crashed out in the group stage, being beaten 2-1 by France and 4-2 Romania before the draw with Croatia.

The new group we've got in now is young, hungry and talented. Morgan Gibbs-White

Gibbs-White said: “We all know it wasn’t a good enough tournament, but we live and we learn.

“The players that played in it, that will be with them for the rest of their careers but it’s a learning curve. I’m sure we’ll all bounce back from that stronger.

“The new group we’ve got in now is young, hungry and talented. We had our first session on Monday and the boys are looking sharp so we’re more than ready to get going.”

At the Euros midfielder James Maddison and goalkeeper Dean Henderson both claimed England’s team were better than France and Romania after the defeat to the latter, and Boothroyd spoke earlier this week about the talk there had been of arrogance in the squad, saying the players’ comments were “just the folly of youth”.

Gibbs-White said: “I wouldn’t say it was arrogance, I would say it was a lot of frustration because we were losing, but the boys believed in themselves.

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Mason Mount has made it into the England senior squad (Tim Goode/PA)

“We had a month before, just a full training month, where we were working so hard and then to get to the tournament and get let down the way we did – I think it was due to frustration.

“As a footballer you have to have belief in yourself to keep going.”

Maddison was one of a trio from the summer’s squad subsequently called up to the seniors by Gareth Southgate, the others being Mason Mount and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

“It’s definitely a benchmark because seeing that they can do it shows that anyone can do it,” Gibbs-White said.

“With the pathway that’s going through the England set-up at the minute, it’s frightening.”

PA

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