Ashley Young’s Stevenage schooldays remembered ahead of England’s World Cup opener

Ashley Young with England manager Gareth Southgate during the World Cup warm-up match against Nigeri

Ashley Young with England manager Gareth Southgate during the World Cup warm-up match against Nigeria at Wembley. Picture: Eddie Keogh/FA - Credit: Eddie Keogh for FA

Stevenage will be represented in Russia this summer when Ashley Young pulls on his England shirt at the FIFA World Cup – and a video has been produced about his childhood here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeISa-TwC1Q

The England team’s official supermarket Lidl has produced the short video about the Manchester United man as part of their ‘Dream Big with Lidl’ series – looking at Ashley’s childhood with Collette Murphy, his former maths teacher at the town’s John Henry Newman School.

She described him as: “Lovely and lively. He was one of our little stars.”

Ashley, 32, earned a spot in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad after an impressive season at full-back as Manchester United finished as Premier League runners-up.

Ashley Young at the 2014 unveiling of Stevenage's pictorial tribute to its sporting heroes in the wa

Ashley Young at the 2014 unveiling of Stevenage's pictorial tribute to its sporting heroes in the walkway between the town centre and railway station. Picture: Kevin Lines - Credit: Archant

Ashley became a defender after being converted from a winger, but during his school days he played higher up the pitch – as football coach Charlie Anderson recalls.

“He liked to get stuck in so we put him up front, tried to get the ball to him and if he could score a goal for us it was good going,” he said.

“Always hard working. Always did his best.”

Ashley Young meets pupils at his former school, John Henry Newman, in 2016. Picture: Chris Crafter

Ashley Young meets pupils at his former school, John Henry Newman, in 2016. Picture: Chris Crafter - Credit: Archant

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The former Watford and Aston Villa man – who played football alongside four-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton at John Henry Newman – is honoured on the pictorial wall of Stevenage sporting stars in the walkway between the town centre and railway.

England kick off their World Cup campaign tomorrow night when they face Tunisia in Volgograd.