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Archie Brown: The England starlet in Belgium attracting Premier League interest

Archie Brown has just received his first-ever England U20s callup; the 20-year-old Birmingham-born defender plays for Gent in Belgium; player is understood to be attracting interest from clubs in the Premier League and the rest of Europe alike

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Gent defender Archie Brown says his callup to England's Young Lions squad is the fulfilment of a childhood dream.

It has been a pretty big week for Archie Brown.

Brown, who can play comfortably along the left-hand side as a defender or winger, has just received his first England U20 call-up ahead of friendlies in Sweden and Ireland in June - the first time he has been recognised by his national side at any level.

But you may be wondering - who is Archie Brown?

He has spent the last four years playing abroad but is someone you may be hearing a lot more of in future...

From Derby to Gent via Lausanne

Brown began his career at Derby County, coming through their academy and really made his name as the Rams reached the 2019 Youth Premier League National final and took on an Arsenal side that contained the likes of Bukayo Saka.

Brown outshone Saka on the day, his side winning 5-2, with the defender involved in four of Derby's goals.

"In terms of my youth career, it was massive." he said.

Also See:

Gent's Belgian midfielder #08 Pieter Gerkens and Gent's British defender #03 Archie Brown celebrate after scoring a goal during the Belgian "Pro League" First Division football match between  KAA Gent and Royal Antwerp FC at the Ghelamco Arena in Ghent on February 25, 2024. (Photo by Tom Goyvaerts / BELGA / AFP) / Belgium OUT
Image: Archie Brown is thriving at Belgium side Gent

"It was the first time people started to know who I was, it was a big moment for me and it helped finish quite a historic season for Derby - we weren't known as a massive academy, so to be out there, play the big clubs and win the league, it was…"

However, after the big win at youth level, Brown felt his opportunities would be limited to break into the first team at Derby, so aged 18 he left England to join Swiss side Lausanne-Sport.

"It was challenging, to be honest, I can't sit here and act like it was really smooth," Brown said.

"It was also around COVID, so I didn't get to come back and see people as much as I wanted to. I think in the second season it was a turning point, I embraced the culture, jumped into the lifestyle and it helped me develop as a player and a person.

"I had the opportunity to be part of a first team where I knew if I performed, there would be a lot of eyes on me - and that's how it played out.

"I knew I had to throw myself in the deep end even though some others thought I wasn't ready. I bet on me - I'm always going to bet on me - and I don't regret anything."

His impressive form for Lausanne then led Brown to Belgium, where he now plays for Gent, featuring 44 times last season, including in the Europa Conference League.

Cole the gold standard of left-backs

When you hear Brown's story, there is a sense of bravery to go abroad at such a young age to prove himself - perhaps a different journey to those we have traditionally been accustomed to when we look at young English talents.

And now Brown is being rewarded for that courage as he will be meeting up with his new England team-mates at St George's Park for the first time, something he dreamed of as a kid.

"Just pride, to be honest," said Brown when asked what it meant to be called up.

File photo dated 05/03/2014 of England's Ashley Cole.
Image: Former England left-back Ashley Cole is someone Brown looks up to

"It's what every single kid dreams of. I remember when I was 14 I used to watch YouTube videos of the players meeting up at St George's Park… to just be in that environment and in that set-up, it fills me and my family with immense pride."

Brown has played in a variety of position throughout his young career - whether it be a winger, a left-sided centre back in Lausanne, or a more traditional left back at Gent, but when asked if he idolised a certain England player growing up, it is clear to see why he enjoys playing left-back the most.

"I'm throwing it quite far back, but Ashley Cole - he's the standard when you look at English left-backs," Brown said.

"I was fortunate enough to train with him when he was coming to the end of his career at Derby and what stood out to me the most was his approach to the game.

"I saw his ability to laugh and joke in the changing room, but when he stepped on the training pitch or a game, it's like a switch flicks and he's able to get into that zone."

Could we see Brown in the Premier League?

On top of international recognition, Brown is attracting interest from clubs in the Premier League and the rest of Europe alike.

The maturity he speaks with is clear for all to hear, and it is again on show when he is asked about his future ambitions and whether he would like to return to England.

My aspiration is to play at the highest level possible, to play in the Champions League and compete for league titles.
Archie Brown

"Not to sound generic, but I just want to be the version of myself as I can - if I can continue to be a student of the game, respect the game and try to reach the highest level I can possible, we'll see where that takes me," Brown said.

"It might take me back to England and the Premier League, but it may take me somewhere in Europe. My aspiration is to play at the highest level possible, to play in the Champions League and compete for league titles.

"I know I have the ability, I know what's going on inside my mind - I just need to keep respecting the game and see where takes me."

When does the summer transfer window open and close?

The 2024 summer transfer window in the Premier League officially opens on Friday June 14 - the same day that Euro 2024 starts.

The window will close on August 30 at 11pm UK time.

The Premier League has brought forward Deadline Day to link up with the other major leagues in Europe. The closing dates were set following discussions with the leagues in England, Germany, Italy, Spain and France.

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