Levi Colwill recalls special Wembley visit as he names toughest Prem striker

Levi Colwill savours ‘dream come true’ as England debut looms

Laid-back Levi Colwill has taken pretty much everything in his stride since leading out a team at Wembley at the age of just 11. The Chelsea defender was a mascot for the 2014 FA Vase Cup final in which two of his uncles were playing.

Since then he has gone on to get his first England call-up and the only cloud is that Euro 2024 qualifier against Ukraine in Poland is on Saturday. It means he won’t be able to join the die-hard 400 or so crowd at Portsmouth Road to watch Sholing taking on Harrow Borough in football’s seventh tier.

“I was young,” he recalled. “I remember training with Chelsea and I left early to drive down. I got changed into the kit and waited in the tunnel for my uncles to walk past. I remember seeing them there and they were so serious. I felt the nerves at once. I remember how serious they were

“Everyone was shouting during the game, walking out. It was amazing. I remember watching the game with my family and everyone was so nervous in the stands.

“Once Marvin McLean, who was like another uncle to me, scored the celebrations… everyone was going crazy. It was one of the best feelings ever. It was just like a family thing in their team. Everyone was a family and I love that feeling.

“So being a little boy I remember walking out and looking up and thinking, ‘I’ve got to be here one day, I’ve got to play here. I can’t let my uncles play here and not me’. Hopefully one day it happens.

“I still go whenever I can. I haven’t been this season yet but I went a few times last season. I like going to their ground, I like going to away days if I have a chance. They all love me! So it’s cool.”

For now it is Wroclaw and Hampden Park, but even on the highest stages you can still get a good old-fashioned roughing up by a striker well-versed in the arts and crafts of non-league football. Of all major Premier League strikers Colwill has faced, there was one that really knocked him into shape.

“Was there a moment when you were really given a lesson?”, Colwill was asked. “Yeah, I think Ivan Toney last season,” he said instantly. “I was playing decent football last season and I came up against him and it was a lot different and I had to learn from it quickly. I had to give myself a little chat and say, ‘You’ve got something to prove now.’

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“I can’t remember who the game was after that but I had something to prove and towards the end of the season it stayed in my mind that I had to do a bit better.”

Colwill’s misty memory is testament to just how laid back he is. The next game was at White Hart Lane against Tottenham and a certain Harry Kane only scored his late winner after Colwill was substituted off for the more experienced Adam Webster. But the 20-year-old admits his relaxed attitude can be a curse as well as a blessing.

“People compliment me for being so composed on the ball but maybe other times people don’t see me or think my body language is poor or something like that,” Colwill said.

“But that’s just who I am. I’m a really calm, chilled guy and everyone knows that, people that know me. It’s definitely a strength and weakness.”

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