Bulldogs’ Matty Barlow deserves his chance to shine for England Under-23s, says Andy Brown

CALL UP: Bulldogs’ forward Matty Barlow is part of the England Under-23s team that will face-off against Denmark in Widnes and Sheffield later this week. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

BRADFORD BULLDOGS’ head coach Andy Brown says forward Matty Barlow has got his just rewards after being picked to play for England Under-23s against Denmark this week.

A new initiative, the men’s team get their first test against a top 10 ranked nation with two games, the first of which is at Widnes on Thursday, April 28 (face-off 7pm) before a second encounter at Ice Sheffield the following night (face-off 7.30pm) which will serve as a curtain-raiser for the Junior Showcase event which takes place over the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Matty first came to the Bulldogs back in 2014 as a development player and has gone from strength to strength ever since.

This season saw the 23-year-old earn a two-way deal with NIHL North One team Widnes Wild – for who he played in 2017-18 before returning to the Bulldogs. 

His time at the higher level has benefitted both himself and the Bulldogs when he has been available to play for his parent club. 

This season, Math has posted 10 goals and eight assists in just 14 appearances for the Bulldogs, while also impressing at the next level up with the Wild with 11+10 in 26 games.

Bulldogs’ head coach Andy Brown says Matty Barlow deserves his call-up to the England Under-23s team. Picture: Andy Bourke/Podium Prints.

Matty made it through to the 20-strong roster after a training camp was held at Ice Sheffield early last week at which 50 players attended to undergo classroom sessions, video with GB head coach Pete Russell as well as multiple on-ice sessions ending with full scrimmage.

“It’s a great achievement for Matty, who has been with us since he was 15,” said Andy Brown. “He initially joined the team as a development player, we had a very strong Under-16s team at the time and Matty came in knowing his ice time might be limited but knowing he would have to push himself in training to develop his game. 

“His hard work paid off and he soon worked his way up into the team and has since shown talent at every age group coming through. 

“The two-way deal with Widnes has given him the opportunity to showcase his skills at a higher level and when we have had him back in our ranks you can see the continued development he has made. 

“It will be a great opportunity to test himself against Denmark this weekend and I’m sure he will do himself and the Bulldogs proud.”