JORDAN Slew, the latest addition to Sheffield United’s collection of England youth internationals, will discover this lunchtime if his services are required against Millwall tomorrow.
But irrespective of whether he finds himself on duty with Micky Adams’ side or braving the windswept pitches of Shirecliffe for the Championship club’s academy, Slew believes representing the young lions against Germany during Tuesday’s friendly at Chesterfield should enhance his performance.
“There’s a lot of I can take back to Bramall Lane with me,” Slew told The Star after making his under-19 debut. “The biggest thing is definitely confidence.
“It was great to be involved with the lads in the first place but even better to get on and take part. I just felt very proud.
“I thought I did okay. I probably should have scored soon after coming on but I’ve learned a lot and it’s been a great experience.
“I’ve got some big games coming up at United, whether it be with the first-team lads or in the academy league and FA Youth Cup so hopefully this is going to help me improve.”
Slew, who came within the width of a bootlace of turning home Jordan Obita’s cross just minutes after replacing Connor Wickham in attack, has been in prolific form for John Pemberton’s youngsters this term.
Having been briefly exposed to the rigors of Championship competition by Adams’ predecessor, Gary Speed, opportunities to build upon cameo appearances against Watford, Doncaster Rovers and Aston Villa have been predictably few and far between as United slip deeper into relegation trouble.
Coaching staff at Shirecliffe are understandably loathe to place too much pressure on Slew’s teenage shoulders, preferring instead to tread softly when it comes to nurturing his talent.
But the 18-year-old’s promise has not gone unnoticed behind the scenes, with Chris Morgan, United’s influential captain, recently praising his mature approach to the development process.
“It is difficult to understand how hard it is for a player to go back down to his age group and still be hungry, to still be hungry once he’s had a taste of the first team,” Morgan said. “
Nevertheless, Slew is keen to progress.
“Obviously it’s great to be involved with the older guys,” he said. “You pick up a lot of tips and new things.
“It really helps to improve your game. But the same goes when I’m with the academy too. I just want to listen, learn and keep on getting better.”
European Elite Round qualifiers against Montenegro, Spain and Switzerland are next on England’s agenda following their midweek defeat – Denis Thomalla’s strike proving enough to settle an absorbing contest - and Slew hopes he has done enough to impress the selectors.
“It is important we continue to look at players to see if and when they can step up to this level,” England’s Noel Blake said. “We work very closely with their clubs who also recommend players to us.”
Slew said: “My aim, when it comes to England, has got to be staying in and around the squad. Hopefully I can do enough to be involved in the next few fixtures as well. If I am then great.
“But wherever I’m playing I’m always going to give everything.”
United travel to either Leicester or Preston in the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup. Should United reach the last four they will face Leeds, Aston Villa or Middlesbrough.