Tottenham defender Steven Caulker achieves personal milestone with England debut

 

Steven Caulker achieved a personal milestone with less than two months to spare when making his England debut in last night's friendly international against Sweden in Stockholm.

The Tottenham defender had set his sights on making his breakthrough with the Three Lions before his 21st birthday which is on December 29.

Caulker not only reached that goal but also became the first England player to score on his first appearance since David Nugent against Andorra in Barcelona five and a half years ago.

He said: "A target of mine was wanting to make my England debut before I was 21.

"I managed to scrape in just before my 21st birthday so I am delighted with that.

"But to get a goal as well, I was delighted.

"I've started to hit the net a few times this year, scoring against Aston Villa and Manchester City, and I wanted to keep the run going."

Caulker received plenty of advice before the game and admits it was a massive learning curve facing four-goal Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He said: "A lot of the boys were very encouraging, especially Phil Jagielka who obviously wasn't playing.

"He was talking to me and telling me to be calm and collective. It was a big help.

"I thought it went well and I hope to improve and be back next time.

"I felt I learnt a lot especially against a world class striker and they were superb finishes from him. His fourth goal was the best I've seen in my career.

"It was a good experience and definitely a learning curve."

Caulker was unfortunate with Ibrahimovic's first goal, making a superb block only for the rebound to fall straight to the striker.

He said: "It happens as a defender. All you can do is chuck your body on the line and I was sad to see it hit the back of the net.

"But we bounced back and played good football in patches.

"There were plenty of plus points. I thought Leon Osman and Raheem Sterling really did well on their debuts.

"Raheem, for someone who is 17, looked fantastic and composed."

Caulker is now looking forward to Saturday's North London derby clash with Arsenal.

He said: "It's a massive game Saturday. I will get home and get my rest and look forward to Saturday.

"It's about recovery now for me. I've been used to it with playing in Europe. We play a lot away and travel back. I'm used to it. I'll get my legs up now and rest."

We did well for large parts of the game but Zlatan turned it on tonight and when he is like, he is virtually impossible to mark.

Caulker's club-mate, Tom Huddlestone, was also stunned by the quality of Ibrahimovic's fourth goal.

He said: "If you saw someone score like that on a computer game, you'd be surprised, never mind in person.

"Only himself and Lionel Messi are capable of turning a game like he did.

"It was probably the best goal I've ever seen, especially in a game in which I've been involved in."

Huddlestone added: "I thought the lads played well in large parts but Ibrahimovic took the game away from us really.

"The performance, not the result, we can take a lot from."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
people
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
Arts and Entertainment
Warner Bros released a mock-up of what the new Central Perk will look like
tv'Friends' cafe will be complete with Gunther and orange couch
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone