Goalkeeper on Moldova visitRoyals stopper Alex McCarthy says he looks back fondly on his time with England's under 21s set up - as the Three Lions prepare to play at Madejski Stadium on Thursday evening.
Reading's Academy product was capped on three occasions at under 21 level, and traveled to the European Championships in Denmark in 2011.
"It was a great experience, to play for your country at any level is obviously a great experience," said McCarthy.
"I was on loan at Yeovil for the season and that was where I got my first call up. It was a really good feeling to pull on that shirt. When you look at recent years, the likes of Micah Richards, James Milner, Joe Hart have proved that playing at that level and getting a few games under your belt is needed to get to a more senior level. You’ve seen the ones that have gone on to senior level from there have done well – it is a good stepping stone."
The 23-year-old, who continued his international progression when he was selected in the full England squad by Roy Hodgson in May, has also spoken of his delight at Reading hosting this week's clash with Moldova.
"They’re always good games to watch, a few of our 21s squad will be there watching too and it’ll be a good experience for them. It’s great for the town to be able to host it at Madejski Stadium and hopefully it won't be the last time the club gets to stage something like this."
Tickets for the clash are priced at £10 for adults, £7 for 17-21s and £5 for U16s and OAPs. You can also purchase a family ticket of two adults and two U16s for just £20. There are no booking fees but a £1.50 administration charge will apply to phone and internet bookings (will show as a booking online due to ticketing system). No online bookings for group or family tickets. Furthermore, it will be £8 per car for public car parking with a concession, while for disabled badge holders it will be £5 per car.