JORDAN GETS FO­CUS BACK ON ENG­LAND

Cousins de­light over Charl­ton safety

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jamie Holt

IT HAS been a sea­son of shocks for Jordan Cousins – the Charl­ton mid­fielder is the first to ad­mit he never ex­pected to play such a piv­otal role in the Ad­dicks’ quest to beat the drop this term.

And his re­ward for a gru­elling 47-game de­but sea­son is more ac­tion, this time with Eng­land U20s, af­ter a sur­prise call up for the Toulon Tour­na­ment next week.

Cousins is no stranger to the in­ter­na­tional fold – he lined up along­side Liver­pool hot­shot Ra­heem Ster­ling in Eng­land U17s’ World Cup cam­paign in 2011 and has also played at U18 level for the Three Lions.

How­ever, first-team ac­tion with Charl­ton proved more elu­sive be­fore this sea­son for the ver­sa­tile 20-year-old.

But af­ter rack­ing up an eye­wa­ter­ing num­ber of games since mak­ing his de­but in Au­gust, Cousins is look­ing to catch the eye again in France – start­ing on Thurs­day when Eng­land take on Qatar.

“It’s been a very good sea­son and a lot of things have come as a shock, like the Eng­land call-up,” said Cousins, who was also named in the Eng­land U21 squad to take on Wales to­mor­row. The sum­mer break has been cut short a bit! I’ve just man­aged the rigours of play­ing as it’s come along.

“Some­times it has been hard be­cause we had a lot of games to catch up on to­wards the end of the sea­son but I’ve just been mak­ing sure I’m do­ing ev­ery­thing right and re­cov­er­ing well af­ter the games.

“I’ve just been get­ting on with it to be hon­est and I haven’t re­ally had time to think about it all be­cause it’s been com­ing thick and fast.

“As the sea­son went on I re­alised I was do­ing al­right and I wanted to stay in the team and gain from the ex­pe­ri­ence.

“But this is my first call up for the U21s and there are some qual­ity play­ers in there so I’m happy to be in there.

Im­pres­sive

“It puts me in good stead not just for Eng­land but for my whole foot­ball ca­reer. I would say Charl­ton stay­ing up is one of my great­est achieve­ments and that will help with the U21s. It’s my time now to go out and im­press ev­ery- one and show what I can do.”

Cousins cer­tainly im­pressed over the course of the sea­son and there were ru­mours that Ar­se­nal were mon­i­tor­ing the mid­fielder’s progress at the turn of the year.

He had spent a one-week trial with the Gun­ners – the club he sup­ported as a child – when he was 13 but he claims the new spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing their in­ter­est is un­founded.

“I think the link with Ar­se­nal has been blown out of pro­por­tion be­cause I sup­port them,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously it’s nice be­cause it means I’m do­ing some­thing right.

“My agent just wants me to fo­cus on my foot­ball and that’s the most im­por­tant thing right now.”

And hav­ing se­cured Charl­ton’s sta­tus in the Cham­pi­onship with a game to spare, Cousins is look­ing for­ward to a bright fu­ture at the Val­ley.

He’s hop­ing the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing boss Jose Riga’s fu­ture at the club is sorted soon with the Bel­gian out of con­tract.

“Main­tain­ing Charl­ton’s league sta­tus was the main goal and it was a tough first sea­son for me,” Cousins con­tin­ued.

“We didn’t want it to go down to the last day of the sea­son. It was nice to go into that last match with­out any of that pres­sure.

“It’s ex­cit­ing to be at Charl­ton and to see what’s go­ing to hap­pen. We’ve got a new train­ing ground and things are look­ing for­wards.

“We don’t know what’s hap­pen­ing man­ager-wise but ev­ery­thing is very ex­cit­ing and I’ll be look­ing for­ward to go­ing back.

“It was a bit dif­fer­ent (when Jose came in) be­cause I was out of the team but then I worked my way back in.

“He was very fo­cused on mak­ing sure we stayed up and those were his words to all the play­ers.

“He didn’t re­ally go into in­di­vid­ual things, he just made sure he fo­cused on the team and that we stayed in this league.

“He was very tac­ti­cally aware so he would make sure ev­ery­one knew his job on the pitch which as a young player I learned a lot from.

“I’m not sure who’ll be there next sea­son but I’d like to see Jose there when I go back next sea­son.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HAND­FULL: Charl­ton’s Jordan Cousins takes on Bolton’s Alan Hut­ton

Jordan Cousins in the BIG MATCH EX­PE­RI­ENCE: Eng­land's

U17’ s match against Ar­gentina tun­nel be­fore kick off of Eng­land in Mex­ico 2011

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