‘IT IS A GREAT FEELING’ – SAM MAGRI ON PLAYING FOR MALTA

Sam Magri has made over 30 appearances in an England shirt during his career, however after acquiring his Maltese passport in 2015, the 24-year-old defender has gone on to represent Malta on seven occasions.

Starting his career with hometown club Portsmouth, it was during his time at Fratton Park where the defender started to break onto the international stage.

Speaking about the start of his career, Magri explained how he enjoyed playing for boyhood club Portsmouth: “Coming through at Portsmouth, it was great for me because it’s where I live and the club I support.

“It was a great experience seeing top players day in, day out as I got older and I really enjoyed it. My early years were really good and I’ve always enjoyed football so they were happy days.”

Sam Magri representing England at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011.
(Photo by Mario Castillo/LatinContent/Getty Images)

The defender went on to sign for Queens Park Rangers in August 2012, as the side entered their first campaign as a Premier League side.

In July 2014, after an earlier loan spell away from Loftus Road to Nuneaton, Magri signed for Premier League club Crystal Palace.

The 24-year-old reflected his decision to join Palace saying: “My time at QPR and Palace was okay but after I left QPR I should have looked at joining a men’s team instead of joining Palace for their under 23 side.”

After featuring for England U16’s, Magri made the step up to the Under 17 side which led to him being selected in the Three Lions’ 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup squad as they headed to Mexico.

Magri followed in the footsteps of Geoff Hurst, Michael Owen and John Terry as he scored for England against historic rivals Germany.

However, unfortunately, the Three Lions were knocked out by Germany in the Quarter-Finals winning 3-2.

Sam Magri (right) playing for England against Germany at the FIFA U17 World Cup Mexico 2011.
(Photo by Gerardo Zavala/LatinContent/Getty Images)


“Playing for England was a good experience. I think I played 38 times and I enjoyed it,” said Magri.

“It was good playing the best players from other countries at your age. The Under 17 World Cup was in Mexico and it was really good, I enjoyed that a lot!

“We got to the quarter-finals which I scored in but we lost 3-2 to Germany. That was a great experience and a big learning curve. In the penalty shoot-out, we beat Argentina, that was my favourite memory from it, I went up first and scored.

“I speak to a few of the lads now and again, some of them play in my league which is always good to see them.”

Sam Magri (left) breaks from Scotland’s Chris Martin (right) during Malta’s 2018 World Cup Qualifying Campaign.
(Photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)


However, in August 2015 Magri put his England dreams behind him after securing a Maltese passport which he qualified for through his Grandfather.

The defender made his Malta U21 debut in a 2-0 defeat to Belgium, current Leicester star Youri Tielemans was on the scoresheet for De Rode Duivels.

Speaking about how he worked towards playing for Malta, Magri said: “I’ve always known about the Maltese heritage from a young age.

“I was contacted once when I stopped playing for England and I was always in touch with people there, so I just went for it.

“To be honest I can’t remember how my first under 21 call up came about but for the senior call up I was out and I got a call saying that I had been called up to the side.

“It was a great feeling for me and my family, we were all happy and it was a good time!”

The 24-year-old made his debut for Malta against Slovenia during their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in November 2016.

However just over nine months later the defender lined up against familiar faces such as Nathanial Chalobah and Raheem Sterling when England travelled to the Ta’Qali to face Malta in front of 16,994 people.

“Yeah, I played with them [Nathanial Chalobah and Raheem Sterling] and we had a little chat before the game, it is always good to catch up with people you’ve played with in the past.”

Malta’s Samuel Magri (Centre) jokes with England’s Raheem Sterling (Right) and Nathaniel Chalobah (Left) prior to Malta vs England.
(Photo credit should read MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP/Getty Images)

Magri currently plays for National League side Ebbsfleet. The defender signed for the club in June 2017 after a two-year spell with Dover.

“Ebbsfleet has been good so far, we were in the play-offs last season. This season has been difficult at times but I am enjoying it,” said the Maltese interntaional.

“We are six points off the play-offs this year, it’s definitely doable to get into the play-offs again, we just need to win and have a few results go our way, then we will be in there again.”

Lincoln City’s Elliott Whitehouse fights for possession with Dover Athletic’s Sam Magri in 2017.
(Photo by Andrew Vaughan – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Speaking about his future, Magri said he would consider a move abroad if the right opportunity came about: “I’d never rule out a move to Malta as it’s a lovely country.

“I don’t know too much about the club football there but if it ever came up, then I’d definitely think about it with my family and if everything was good I would go.”

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