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Barcelona make shock trip to Fleetwood Town to scout England under-21 international James Hill

Barcelona make shock trip to Fleetwood Town to scout England under-21 international James Hill

Barcelona made a surprise visit to scout Fleetwood Town teenager James Hill.

Hill, who was handed a first England Under-21 call-up yesterday, is out of contract next summer and attracting interest from Premier League clubs.

But the attendance of Barca represented a shock, with the Spanish giants running the rule over the central defender during Fleetwood’s 1-0 defeat by Burton Albion last month.

Fleetwood Town defender James Hill was watched by scouts from Barcelona last month

Fleetwood Town defender James Hill was watched by scouts from Barcelona last month

Fleetwood Town defender James Hill was watched by scouts from Barcelona last month

Hill has been called up to England's under-21 side following impressive displays for Fleetwood

Hill has been called up to England's under-21 side following impressive displays for Fleetwood

Hill has been called up to England’s under-21 side following impressive displays for Fleetwood

The 19-year-old will join up with Lee Carsley’s Under 21s on Monday ahead of a crunch European Championship qualifier against Czech Republic next week.

Hill is the first outfield player from League One given the nod since Charlton’s Ezri Konsa – now starring at Aston Villa – was selected for the 2018 Toulon Tournament.

It has been a whirlwind few months for the son of former Bristol City full back Matt, after only making his Under-20 debut earlier this season.

‘Obviously when you go away with England it’s a very technical game, there are a lot of talented boys,’ Hill said.

‘When you’re in League One, it’s physically demanding and a different style of play. A lot of the ball is on the deck with England and with my club it is a different challenge, more of an aerial battle.

Hill is the first outfield player from League 1 to be picked for England's under-21s in three years

Hill is the first outfield player from League 1 to be picked for England's under-21s in three years

Hill is the first outfield player from League 1 to be picked for England’s under-21s in three years

‘That has helped me because I have the understanding of when to play and when not to play. If it can’t be a pass then it has to go long, over the top. It’s easier for me to adapt to their (England’s) football than the other way around.’ Hill, released by Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers as a youngster, now has more than 50 senior appearances under his belt.

Carsley has been tracking his progress for over a year and revealed that England’s age-group coaches unanimously agreed that he should step up for the November camp.

‘I thought it was the right time to bring him in with some of the issues we’ve had at centre-back,’ Carsley said.

‘If you look at our pathway in general, we get a lot of centre-backs from Category One academies. It’s very rare that we have players so young at centre-back in their first team getting tested every week against senior players.

Hill had been monitored by England under-21 coach Lee Carsley for over a year

Hill had been monitored by England under-21 coach Lee Carsley for over a year

Hill had been monitored by England under-21 coach Lee Carsley for over a year

‘The feedback we got in the last camp with the Under 20s on was that he was the model professional.

‘Watching him play against Wycombe last week was a big test, up against Adebayo Akinfenwa and Sam Vokes.

‘Every corner was a physical test for him but he coped really well. He’s deserved the opportunity to come and train with us and potentially put himself in consideration.’

Source: DailyMail Sports

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