Armstrong reflects on a successful summer with England
Written by Dan King
As England look to book their place in the World Cup semi-finals this weekend, Adam Armstrong is back at Newcastle United fresh from his own successful summer with the Three Lions.
The Little Benton Academy product was part of the squad which won the Toulon Tournament for a third successive year in France last month.
He'd already helped Blackburn gain promotion from League One during a productive loan spell at Ewood Park, and also celebrated his engagement to long-term partner Rebecca during the close-season.
So it's little wonder he had a spring in his step when he reported back for pre-season training with his Newcastle team-mates on Friday.
He told nufc.co.uk: "I finished the season with Blackburn and got put on standby for England under-21s. I was away on holiday when I got the call up and I was straight there.
"I cut (the holiday) short - it was an opportunity I had to grab with both hands, my first time with the under-21s. I had to do it and it paid off because I had a really good tournament and we won the competition."
England came from behind to beat Mexico in the final, with Armstrong scoring against Qatar in the group stages. That meant he has scored for his country at every age group from under-16 to under-21 level and he admitted: "It was a nice feeling to get a goal, the first one for the under-21s, and hopefully there's more to come."
He also set up a handful of goals during the tournament and feels that loan spells with Coventry, Barnsley, Bolton and Blackburn over the past three campaigns have helped to improve his all-round game.
"When you go on loan, it's all about getting experience and I've done that now," Armstrong said. "I've had over 100 games, which is massive as a 21-year-old, and I'm still scoring goals at every level so I just hope I can keep those goals coming."
Armstrong's club colleague Freddie Woodman won the award for the best goalkeeper at the Toulon Tournament, but England coach Aidy Boothroyd singled Armstrong out as one of his team's star performers.
"It was nice," said the forward. "I knew Aidy from the under-19s and he's a good manager; he knows me and I know him, and I settled in straight away with the lads because I know them all.
"From the first game, I just thought I'd show them what I could do. I did well and the gaffer said I was one of the best players."
Having spent the first part of last season with Bolton, Armstrong joined Blackburn in January and scored nine times in 17 starts to help Rovers climb into the Championship.
"I sat down with the gaffer (Tony Mowbray) when I went to Blackburn and he just told me how it was going to be," he explained. "I came to Blackburn hoping to get promoted and we did that, and I helped them with some goals along the way, which was nice.
"I'm back here for pre-season and I'll take every day as it comes. I think you've got to in football. I'm just going to keep on working hard and see what happens."
"When you go on loan, it's all about getting experience and I've done that now. I've had over 100 games, which is massive as a 21-year-old."