‘Over the moon’ – Leeds United man reveals phone conversation as Thorp Arch absence confirmed
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Mateo Joseph, Darko Gyabi, Archie Gray, Charlie Crew and Rory Mahady will all be absent from Leeds United’s Thorp Arch training facility this week as the Whites quintet join their international teammates for the Under-20 World Cup and Under-17 European Championships.
21s’ skipper Joseph and influential midfielder Gyabi will represent England at the Under-20 World Cup in Argentina having secured PL2 Division 1 football for next season with their play-off victory on Monday night.
Discussing only his second call-up to England’s Under-20 age group, Joseph said: “I am really, really happy and excited. I was jumping when I heard the news. I am really happy, I have been working hard a lot, even in the off season. So that’s the message, if you work hard you can achieve whatever you want, whatever you have in mind.”
Leeds’ academy manager Adam Underwood revealed he had the honour of informing Joseph and Gyabi of their call-ups to the squad.
"Incredibly proud of both of those players as are all the staff in the club, and that's including the first team staff. Everybody wants to see young players play at the highest level, of course it's a huge honour to represent your country.
"Both of those lads were over the moon when I called them the other night to let them know. And, you know, ever since then, the excitement's clear in them.”
In addition, Under-21s’ assistant coach Michal Pujdak was asked about the pair following the youngsters’ play-off triumph at Elland Road.
“When you have players going to international tournaments it's a big achievement for them and for the club.
"It's important to credit all the staff working in the academy, starting from from the foundation phase from the development centres through the youth development phase, all the performance support staff, all the coaching staff, because it's a collective effort. Those players bump into many people on their journeys in the academy system so I think it's important to acknowledge that it's a collective achievement and without all those people having some kind of influence on those lives that you've mentioned, it wouldn't be possible.”
Teenager Gray will meet up with England’s Under-17s this week who begin their Euros campaign against Croatia at Városi Sportpálya in Hungary. Meanwhile, Wales Under-17 captain Charlie Crew – who has made a number of appearances off the bench for Leeds’ 21s this season – as well as Under-18s goalkeeper Rory Mahady, who represents Scotland internationally, will feature at the tournament, too.