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George's pride

17 June 2013

George Long says he is bursting with pride after being selected to represent England at this summer's FIFA under-20's World Cup.

Speaking ahead of their opening Group E fixture against Iraq on Sunday, Long remarked: "It's always the biggest honour you can have to compete for your country.

"I feel proud to be involved. Very proud in fact and now I just want to try and do well.

"I was sitting at home when I got a text through from one of the England staff saying I was going on the trip. The first thing I did was tell my parents. I'll always remember that feeling. It was like waiting for your exam results. Hoping that you'd got good results."

Having spent last week training with his international colleagues at St George's Park, Long is confident the Three Lions can do themselves proud in Turkey.

"We want to do well and hopefully give the nation a lift after the U21s failed in Israel," he said. "The games are on television so if we do well that is going to filter home.

"When I first reported here, I didn't really know anybody. But when you mix with everyone around the dinner table and begin training the different set-up quickly becomes the norm.

"I'm really enjoying myself here and we all get along great. When you go into a tournament it's important to have a good team ethic and group spirit. We've definitely got that here."

England beat Uruguay 3-0 in a warm-up fixture on Sunday and Long, along with the Sam Johnstone and Conor Ripley (the other two goalkeepers in the squad), played 30 minutes of the fixture.

The Young Lions begin their FIFA under-20's World Cup group campaign against Iraq before fixtures against Chile and Egypt.

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