Rotherham United: England hero happy to be back at New York Stadium

Harry Winks scores at New York
Harry Winks scores at New York

It’s the New York Stadium fans that England hero Harry Winks remembers the most.

The Tottenham Hotspur teenager was in the Under-18s squad which played Germany at Rotherham United’s new ground back in April.

He came off the bench to hit the winner in a 2-1 triumph, and more than 9,000 supporters gave him the greatest sporting moment of his life.

“The fans were brilliant that night. We had a big crowd there and they were constantly singing and chanting,” he recalled.

“In U-21s football for our clubs we don’t really play in front of crowds like that so it was brilliant.

“To score the winner and see all those fans celebrate was quite surreal.

“For any player, scoring against Germany would be a big thing, but to score a late winner was better than I could have imagined.

“That was by far the best moment of my career to date.”

Seven months on, England are back in town, the U-19s taking on Italy tonight, kick-off 7.45pm.

Young Winks is in the squad and the atmosphere should be even better ... this time the match, being shown live on BT Sport, is a near-12,000 sell-out!

The quality of the facilities at New York Stadium and its immaculate playing service made a big impression on the FA - and also their German counterparts that night - that April night.

And that’s why England are happy to return, this time with former Doncaster Rovers manager Sean O’Driscoll in charge.

Local interest is whetted by the inclusions of 18-year-old striker Alex Kiwomya who was on the Millers’ books until 2010 before joinging Chelsea where he now plays for the London club’s U-21 side.

Kiwomya, the son of Andy Kiwomya who had a brief spell with Rotherham in the 1993/1994 season, was a talented schoolboy sprinter and a member of Rotherham Harriers before concentrating on football.

O’Driscoll has kept faith with 16 players who achieved three wins from three in the recent European Championship age-group qualifiers.

O’Driscoll said: “There is an exciting pool of talent in this age group.

“Despite what people say about English footballers, on a technical level the players in this age group are as good as anything that’s out there in any country in the world.”

In April, Winks’ moment of glory came eight minutes from time as he steered home the winner before running off to soak up the adulation of the South Yorkshire public.

Some familiar faces from that memorable evening will be in action tonight hoping for another night of New York celebration.

“A few of us who are in the U-19s now played in that game,” Winks said. “The fact we came from 1-0 to win just shows what we can do.

“It shows that we’ve got a lot of character as well as quality.”

Squad: Goalkeepers:Angus Gunn (Manchester City), Russell Gri ffiths (Everton), Ted Smith (Southend United). Defenders: Ola Aina (Chelsea), Kean Bryan (Manchester City), Reece Burke (West Ham), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Brendan Galloway (Everton), Ashley Smith-Brown (Man City). Midfielders: Dele Alli (MK Dons), Charlie Colkett (Chelsea), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Bryn Morris (Middlesbrough), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur). Forwards: Brandon Barker (Manchester City), Isaiah Brown (Chelsea), Bradley Fewster (Middlesbrough), Alex Kiwomya (Chelsea), Patrick Roberts (Fulham).