RONALDO VIEIRA admits his first full season has exceeded expectations – he initially thought he would be playing for Leeds United’s under-23s but after an impressive season has been handed an England under-20s call-up.
Vieira only signed professional terms with Leeds last May but will fly out to France next week to represent England’s under-20s at the Toulon Tournament later this month.
The young Three Lions will face Angola, Cuba and Japan in the group stages, looking to defend the title which Gareth Southgate’s Under-21s won last summer.
And 18-year-old Vieira admits his international call could not have been envisaged this time last year.
The midfielder only made his Whites debut last May when coming on as an 89th-minute substitute in the 1-1 draw at Preston North End on the final day of the 2015-16 Championship campaign.
But after starting United’s 2016-17 curtain-raiser at QPR, Vieira has gone to make 38 Whites appearances in all competitions this term, a season capped off with a call-up to England under-20s.
“It feels great,” said Vieira.
“It has been a really good year for me and I’m really happy with the England call-up.
“I’ve had to change a few holiday plans as I had a trip booked, but I’m sure it will be worth it. I never expected to have a season like I have, I thought I’d maybe make a few appearances and mainly play Under-23 football, so it has been great and hopefully I’ll be able to carry on like this next season.
“Playing for the national team is a new experience for me, but I have played in many tournaments that I have won at a younger age, so that is something I am used to now.
“When the squad got announced I had a call from Lewis Cook congratulating me and we had a good chat.
“Obviously he was at Leeds and was called up by England for the first time when he was here, so it was nice to speak to him and get that.
“If I get my chance I need to make sure I take it, like I have done at Leeds and hopefully I’ll be able to kick on from there.
“It will be a privilege to play with everyone in the England team, you always want to play with the best players and hopefully we can go to Toulon and win the tournament.”