Meet the Portsmouth academy hopeful aiming for international glory with Philippines this month at the ASEAN Football Federation U23 Championships

Meet David Setters – the Pompey youngster currently eyeing international glory with Philippines’ under-23s in Cambodia.

By Sam Cox
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 12:45 pm

The second-year scholar flew out to Asia earlier this month to compete in the ASEAN Football Federation U23 Championships.

And he’s hoping to return to Fratton Park with the trophy under his arm next month.

For the right-back, who qualifies for John Hall’s squad through his mum, this is the second time he’s been called upon by the Philippines FA – after featuring in the qualification campaign for the U23 Asia Cup last October.

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But after finishing bottom of Group H, following defeats to South Korea, Singapore and Timor Leste, Setters is feeling confident this time around – and he’s already been proven right,

Despite not featuring in the 2-2 draw with Timor Leste on Monday, Philippines U23 have recorded more points in comparison to four months ago.

However, the 18-year-old will be hoping to be involved against Cambodia tomorrow and Brunei DS on Sunday.

The teenager told The News: ‘I think we can do really well in this tournament, looking at the squad and how we’re performing in training, so hopefully all goes well.

Pompey youngster David Setters in representing Philippines under-23s at the ASEAN U23 Championships. Picture Stuart Martin

‘It’s honestly quite a proud feeling, I’ve done my part and impressed enough to be called back by my country.

‘The manager just wants me to bring what I can to the table.

‘He loves me getting up the pitch and expressing myself in the final third, so it’s good to know he has that trust in me.

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‘At the moment we’ve been training with a session in the morning and a session in the afternoon, everyday.

‘We’ve been focusing on getting a relationship built between the team.

‘The morning sessions consist of more physical work with a lot of conditioning to make sure we’re fully fit for the games.

‘The second session is a lot of mini games and 11 v 11s so we are match ready and sharp.’

Philippines’ under-23 squad is comprised of players from across the world, including Germany and Spain.

And Setters, being one of the youngest in the team, is hoping the older members’ experience and quality radiates to him – so he can build on the experience upon his return to Fratton Park.

He continued: ‘It’s a great experience. I’m seeing how different players experience football in their different countries and from the respective clubs so it’s been good from that point of view.

‘It was great (to experience a new culture), the last time was the first time away on my own, so that was overwhelming, but in a positive way to experience that for the first time alongside meeting new people as well.

‘There’s players from Germany, Spain and other European countries like Finland as well.

‘By being exposed to a different coaching style, I can take it back to England and use it to develop as a player, because I can now use both techniques that I’m taught to improve my level even more.

‘And by being surrounded by older players as well is also helping me improve as well.

‘I’m one of the youngest in the team and the older players have helped me a lot. They’ve been very welcoming and if I need anything they’re there for me.’

After questions over the effectiveness of Pompey’s academy earlier this season, a cloud of positivity has gathered in recent weeks.

And although Setters is hoping for the same personal outcome at the end of the season, he reaffirmed his attention is firmly on finishing the season strongly for his club.

He concluded. ‘Greg (Miller) is always supportive of me and he’s never held me back – especially in terms of national team call-ups. It’s good to have someone who backs me 100 per cent.

‘Hopefully, first and foremost, my age group and team do well in the league, and as players we continue to develop and grow.

‘But on a personal level the aim is to receive a professional contract at the end of the season. So I’m hoping that can work out as well.

‘You could say it adds a bit of pressure. But I try not to put it on myself too much and just focus on what I can control.’

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