Josh Lundstram: 'It's a really proud moment for me and my family'
Words by Joe Ward
Pictures by Jonathan Moore
Josh Lundstram has spoken of the unforgettable moment when he found out that he’d been called up to represent his country.
The Altrincham midfielder was named in Paul Fairclough’s final 16-man selection after an impressive run of form this season, cementing himself as one of the Robins’ most consistent players since joining from Crewe Alexandra last summer.
And the 24-year-old revealed how ‘proud’ a moment it was after finding out the news from fellow-Robin, Matt Gould, over social media.
“After the squad was announced, I’d not actually been contacted by anyone. Then, that morning, Gouldy put a message in the lads' group chat, saying: well done buddy," he explained.
“Obviously, I rushed over to Twitter and discovered that my name was in the squad – I was buzzing.”
The fixture between England C and Wales C, at The J.Davidson Stadium on March 21st, will be Josh’s first opportunity to represent his country - a moment that most footballers can only dream of.
“To represent England is something I’d really love to do. I’ve never had the opportunity before, even at youth level.
“The only added pressure that I'm playing for England, but it isn’t something I can’t handle. There are loads of eyes on you in any game at this level. So, that won’t be too much of a problem for me.
“I think playing at The J.Davidson Stadium might make it a tad easier because of the familiarity. It will also be nice for the club to have a representative from their team playing in the game.
“All the lads are really proud, saying how much I deserve it and congratulating me. My entire family are really happy for me too. My nan and grandad have already booked their tickets and they can’t wait to watch me play.”
One team-mate who has been guiding Josh through the call-up is last year’s England C participant Lewis Baines. Playing for Chorley at the time, Lewis was the only player who made the cut whilst competing at a level below the National League (National League North).
Although England were beat 4-0 by Wales at The Oval in Caernarfon last year, Lewis admits the experience showed him, ‘the levels I wanted to get to.’
“I had an epiphany that woke me up after the England C game. Back then, I was working in sales alongside playing football and I went from being treated like royalty and playing for my country to being sat in a meeting the next morning,” he explained.
“It really gave me a kick and helped me realise I want to be playing full-time football for the next ten years or so.”
Following an injury to Ben Tozer of Wrexham just two days before the game, Lewis was given a last-minute call-up by manager Paul Fairclough.
“I thought someone was joking with me when I first found out, to be honest. But then I spoke to the manager, and he told me that I’d been doing really well and that he’d overlooked other defenders from the National League to pick me.
“It was a great opportunity. You ask any kid what they want to do, and it’s to play for England. I know it’s not the first team, but I found it crazy that I was being given my own England shirt and a professional international appearance. That can never be taken away from me.”
On the topic of Josh making the cut, Lewis said, “He fully deserves it. A lot of people only get called up once, so we’re all absolutely buzzing for him.”
However, for ex-Alty legend Shaun Densmore, getting called up just once wasn’t the case. The now-retired defender played a total of five times for England C during his 14-year tenure at Moss Lane.
His involvement in the squad included games against Scotland, Ireland, Poland, Estonia and even an International Challenge Trophy final against Belgium back in 2009.
England C was always a ‘special’ experience for Shaun, who followed in his father Peter Densmore’s footsteps in playing for both Altrincham and England’s semi-pro international side.
“Playing for England isn’t anything I’d ever thought about, to be honest. I knew about the team because my dad played for them when he was at Alty, but it certainly wasn’t on the radar. So, it was a real surprise when I got called up to play but still a very proud moment,” he said.
“I think the game being hosted at The J.Davidson Stadium is just a massive appreciation for all the hard work the club has done recently.
“I’d certainly feel the added incentive to do well with it being your home ground and feeling comfortable in your surroundings. So, I’m sure Josh will do fantastic because he’s been in great form all season.
“I’m not surprised he’s been called up. I played with him when he came on loan and he was excellent. Josh has obviously gone away and matured a bit now too.”
It is an honour for Alty to be chosen to stage an international fixture on Tuesday March 21st, kicking off at 7.45pm. And with tickets priced at just £7 for adults and £2 for under-18s, the club are hoping for a bumper turnout to cheer on an England side that will hopefully include one of our own.
Click here to buy a ticket and reserve your place at a not-to-be-missed night of international football at The J.Davidson Stadium.