Academy prospect Kevin Mfuamba says he’s aiming to follow up his recent experience on the international stage with a big derby display against Aston Villa on Friday night (ko 7pm).
The 16-year-old has already been handed crucial minutes with Richard Beale’s PL2 side this term, exhibiting his range of passing, combativeness and calmness in the middle of the park.
Performances in the U21s and with Leigh Downing’s U18s led to Mfuamba receiving a dream call-up to represent England’s U17s earlier in January, where he earned his first cap against Germany during an international friendly.
Next up for the youngster and the Baggies’ PL2 side is a derby clash at The Hawthorns against the Villans, and while Kevin admits the match will have an edge to it, he says his team-mates are ready to embrace the occasion under the lights in B71.
Speaking ahead of the game, Mfuamba said: “This year has been a massive confidence boost for me.
“Playing in the 21s, the coaches have given me confidence and them giving me and other young boys a chance higher up has been a great opportunity.
“Trust within myself has improved. Just in terms of trying new things, not worrying about making mistakes and reacting to setbacks in games.
“We have to stay humble and grounded, though, if we want to push towards first-team football in the future.
“In the meetings we have, Bealey always says we’re nearly there but not quite yet. That makes me stay grounded and hungry for more in terms of pushing on in my career.
“It was a big dream to play for my country at the start of the year.
“I had a few nerves before the game, but mainly I was just excited to get out there.
“I was confident in myself and when I stepped onto the pitch, everything calmed down and it was my next big step, especially because I’d been playing for the U21s.
“But playing for your country is a big thing and playing against Germany for my first international game was a tough start.
"Featuring in the No.6 role was different. I’m used to playing as a four alongside someone, but for England I was alone and I just had to get on the ball, keep things ticking and it was a great experience for me.
“We’re excited for the game on Friday at The Hawthorns. It’ll be a big occasion and we’re all raring to go.
“We’re going to have to earn the right to play and we’ll be looking to bring intensity to the game and, especially because it’s Villa, there’s going to be an edge to the match.
“The last game we beat Leeds, who are a top, top side and that’s given the squad a big boost ahead of Friday.
“I’m expecting a big reaction from them after the result earlier this season, but we want to show what we’re capable of and earn three points at The Hawthorns.”
How to follow the game
Owing to an event on Friday evening, supporters are advised that parking will not be available on the East Stand Car Park.
Instead, fans can park on the Birmingham Road Car Park, which is located next to Greggs, on a first come, first served basis.
Tickets will be available for Albion’s PL2 clash with Aston Villa at The Hawthorns.
Season ticket holders can watch the match for free, while the prices stand at £5 for adults, and juniors just £1 juniors for those looking to buy their tickets from the Halfords Lane Stand on the night.
Alternatively, season ticket holders and members can also enjoy a live stream of the match. Click here and log in with your My Albion account linked to your season ticket or membership.
The stream will begin 10 minutes before kick-off (6.50pm).
If you haven’t yet set up your account click here for instructions.