Sheffield United: George wants to become a young lion

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George Long has insisted Sheffield United are destined for a bright future after becoming the latest member of their 2011 FA Youth Cup final squad to gain international recognition.

Long was speaking after being named in England’s provisional 35 man party for next month’s under-20 World Cup tournament in Turkey.

The 19-year-old, who made 44 appearances for the League One club last term, told The Star: “There’s a big group of us that have been around the first team ever since then and personally I reckon that’s got to be good for everyone here.

“There are some real quality players coming through - everyone has seen how well the likes of Callum (McFadzean) and Joe (Ironside) have done lately and then there’s the likes of Elliott (Whitehouse) and Terry (Kennedy) too.

“Harry Maguire has established himself in the starting eleven and the fact that most of us are all United fans too makes it even more special.

“We’re all really good mates and there’s nothing better than having your mates out there with you on the pitch.”

Maguire, who won his first England under-21 cap in November, was described as a “big help” by Long when news of his selection was confirmed yesterday.

The goalkeeper will link-up with the rest of Peter Taylor’s squad in Cheshire next week before learning whether he has made the final cut following another training camp at St George’s Park.

“Darren Ward (United’s goalkeeping coach) and my team mate Danny Coyne have been brilliant with me,” Long said. “It would mean everything to go away with England but I wouldn’t even have got this far if it wasn’t for them

“They’ve passed on all of their knowledge and experience and that’s been great. It’s really appreciated but there are still plenty of things I can improve on yet.”

“Just being involved with England should help to make me a better player,” Long added. “I’ll be giving everything and will learn a lot from it.”