Newcastle United well-represented in Malta

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ADAM Armstrong and Freddie Woodman are preparing for the biggest game of their fledgling England careers.

The Newcastle United pair are hoping to start Friday’s European Under-17 Championship opener against host nation Malta on Friday.

England will also play Holland and Turkey in Group A of the tournament.

Armstrong and Woodman arrived in Malta yesterday with their team-mates after a short stay at St George’s Park, the Football Association’s national football centre.

United defender Kyle Cameron, meanwhile, is in the Scotland squad.

Cameron, 17, and his colleagues will play Germany, Switzerland and Portugal. Armstrong’s involvement caps a memorable few months, with the striker, 17, having made four first-team appearances for Newcastle.

And 17-year-old goalkeeper Woodman – who made his Under-21 debut last month – was also in the squad for last week’s Premier League game against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

And United’s reserve-team coach Peter Beardsley – who won 59 senior England caps and went to the 1986 and 1990 World Cups during his international career – feels the experience the trio will gain in Malta will be invaluable.

“It’s brilliant for them,” Beardsley said.

“For me, the more the merrier. Kyle Cameron’s also going away with Scotland in the same competition.

“You don’t get 40 or 50 games a season, but they should. Arma, because he’s been involved in the first team, has missed out on a couple of get-togethers with England, but he’ll be there for the big one.

“With Freddie and Kyle there, it’s brilliant.”

The top two from each group will advance to the semi finals on May 18, which will be staged at Malta’s 17,000-capacity Ta’ Qali national stadium. The final will be held at the same venue three days later.

Armstrong and Woodman, son of goalkeeping coach Andy, signed professional contracts at Newcastle in March along with defender Lubo Satka.

United manager Alan Pardew said: “They must continue to show the same commitment, desire and will to learn.”

Satka (Slovakia), Olivier Kemen (France) and Kevin Mbabu (Switzerland) are also expected to play international football this summer.