Barton hopes Fleetwood Town kid Billy Crellin gets international game time after England U19 call-up

Billy Crellin
Billy Crellin
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Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton hopes goalkeeper Billy Crellin gets more international experience under his belt after being called up by England Under-19s for the European Championships.

Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton hopes goalkeeper Billy Crellin gets more international experience under his belt after being called up by England Under-19s for the European Championships.

Crellin left Fleetwood’s pre-season tour of Hungary early to link up with Paul Simpson’s squad as they aim to retain the title in Finland.

It is the next step in the 18-year-old’s international journey after Crellin featured for the U17s as they won the World Cup last year and progressed to the U18s.

Crellin is competing for a spot in England’s first game on Tuesday against Turkey (4.30pm UK time).

England then face Ukraine on Friday and France next Monday, again 4.30pm kick-offs.

Crellin has enjoyed some game-time this pre-season as he and development squad keeper Matty Urwin battle it out for the vacant spot on the bench as Alex Cairns’ deputy when the League One season commences against AFC Wimbledon on August 4.

Cairns’ rival for the starting spot, Chris Neal, joined National League side Salford City this summer.

And with reported Bristol City target Cairns taking over the number one jersey, it is now a two-way battle between Crellin and Urwin, 24, for the back-up role.

Barton says Crellin would have got minutes in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Zalaegerszegi TE in Hungary but for that England call.

The Town boss is thrilled to see the youngster getting the nod, though it will mean him missing Town’s friendly at Tranmere on Saturday and potentially the Morecambe fixture on July 28.

But Crellin will be back to compete with Urwin ahead of the August 4 kick-ff.

Barton gave the keeper a special shout-out in his post-match interview on Saturday, when the only other absentees were skipper Craig Morgan and left-back Eddie Clarke (both rested).

Barton said: “A special mention to Billy Crellin, who would have played on Saturday but had left us to link up with England. Again really good signals for this football club.

“Hopefully Billy gets the opportunity to further enhance his fledgling international career.”