International Bow For Stankevicius

Another name was added to Leicester City’s list of full internationals recently as a number of Academy prospects continued to make their mark on the international stage.

That honour belonged to City’s promising young international striker Simonas Stankevicius’, whose performances for the Club’s Under-18s helped earn him his first full international cap for the Lithuania national team last week.

A regular for his country’s Under-21s, the 18-year-old forward featured last Monday in a 1-1 international friendly draw against Moldova, but he wasn’t the only member of the Academy to represent their nation.

The Foxes have had three players called up to represent England’s Under-16s in the prestigious Victory Shield competition – the final match of which will feature Under-15 winger Layton Ndukwu on Friday night against Scotland. – which is live on Sky Sports (7:30pm KO).

Another Under-15s player, Darnell Johnson, who is the Godson of former Fox Emile Heskey, also had the honour of captaining England’s Under-16s against Northern Ireland this month, and was joined by Under-16s striker Admiral Muskwe.

Academy Director Jon Rudkin reflected on a busy and exciting period for the Academy, telling “It has been a great experience for all of them and hopefully there’s still plenty of international football ahead.

With Simonas [Stankevicius], he’s and Under-18s player who went away with Lithuania’s Under-21s and earned himself a call-up for the full national team and made his full debut.

“Lithuania weren’t in a position to qualify for the World Cup, and that gives them a scope to try out some of the younger players. To make his senior debut against Moldova was a great experience and a wonderful honour, and bodes well for his future here at the Football Club.

“It has been pleasing and different for him this season. He’s been playing a lot as a lone striker in a different style to last season. That’s something we wanted to look at as part of his development, so it has been very encouraging.

“We’ve had several of the Under-15s and Under-16s players represent England in the Victory Shield too

“Layton [Ndukwu] has also been called into the England Under-16s squad for a very high profile tournament over in Florida, so he’s off to warmer climates in December.

“He’ll play against the United States, Brazil and Portugal. So it’s a really exciting tournament for Layton to be involved in and alongside that, Darnell [Johnson] has been placed on standby and if a player pulls out, he could be pulled into the squad.

“We had three players last season who represented England at Under-16 and Under-17 level, and to have three players again this season involved around the Victory Shield, really shows the type of work going on at the Football Club, as well as the dedication and focus of some of our young players.”

Foxes fans will have a chance to cast their eyes over the next crop of City stars on Wednesday 18 December, when the Under-18s tackle Rotherham United in the FA Youth Cup Third Round at King Power Stadium.

Kick-off is at 7pm, and Rudkin revealed that he is looking forward to what is always a special night in the competition, adding: “It’s a great occasion and it gives us the opportunity again to play at King Power Stadium which is a very important part of their development.

“It’s great for us as staff because you never really know how the players are going to react, but we obviously want to go as far as we can in the competition.

“Most importantly it’s how they prepare and play, so we can evaluate how they are ready for the future.”

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