Easah Suliman hopes he has shown enough versatility at the Algarve Tournament to earn the chance to represent his country in their important European Qualifiers.The Aston Villa youngster, who was born and raised in Mosely in Birmingham, has just returned from Portugal where he has represented England U17s in the four-nations competition.
Despite the results on the field, with defeats against Holland and Germany coming either side of a 1-1 draw with the hosts, Suliman says it has been another valuable learning experience ahead of next month’s European Championship Elite Round Qualifiers which will be held not far from his home.
“It’s been good in the respect that I’ve learnt a lot,” he told TheFA.com.
“Obviously, the first game was very disappointing. But we bounced back against Portugal, and we were very unlucky not to get something out of the last game against Germany.”
Usually positioned in central defence, the 17-year-old also performed as a defensive midfielder as John Peacock used the competition to take a closer look at his personnel ahead of the crunch clashes in March.
“It was good to show John that I can play in more than just one position,” said Suliman.
“And if I get chosen for the Elites, I’ve shown him that I can perform in that defensive midfield role as well as central defence.
“I prefer centre-half, but John has seen me play at Villa there, right-back and centre midfield, so it’s been good to show him I have a bit of variety.”
He added: “It suits me a lot in that role. I’m not getting too far forward and I just sit and screen the back four.
“I’ve been told that I need to be a bit more composed on the ball, so that is something I am working on, and I really want to show I’m good enough to do that.”
Having arrived back in England following international duty, Suliman is now focussed on continuing his good performances at club level in order to achieve something very special to him – pulling on the Three Lions in front of his fellow Midlanders.
“It would be great playing for England in the Midlands,” he added. “I’d have a lot of friends and family there cheering me on.
“St. George’s Park is not too far from where I live, so if I got chosen I’d have a lot of support and I’m sure everyone in the area would get behind us and spur us on to do well.”
Suliman penned his first professional contract at Villa Park last month, after which Aston Villa academy director Sean Kimberley said: “We're delighted that Easah has signed his first professional contract with the club.
“Easah has been at the club through his foundation years at junior school and he's a Birmingham lad who's come through the local recruitment process.
“We've been able to develop young, local players over the years and it's great that we can continue to do that with Easah.”
Tickets for England v Norway (Saturday 21 March, ko 3pm) and their final qualifier against Romania (Thursday 26 March, ko 7pm), both held at Burton Albion, are available by calling 01283 565938.