CALLUM Styles admits it has been difficult to go from the high of making his international debut back to Barnsley’s relegation battle but believes the experience will improve him.
The 22-year-old was called up for Hungary, the home country of his grandmother, last month and played twice in friendlies.
He returned just before the Reds’ 1-1 home draw with fellow Championship relegation-battlers Reading who have since increased the gap to eight points, leaving Barnsley highly likely to drop into League One.
Styles told the Chronicle: “It is something I have never experienced. I trained every day with Hungary and the load was quite high. I played 82 minutes against Northern Ireland on the Tuesday night. Physically it was a lot for my body and I didn’t have a rest like the other lads. But I thought I recovered well.”
Styles loved his first experience of international football, making his debut off the bench in a home loss to Serbia then starting a 1-0 win in Belfast.
“I was a little bit worried I would be seen as the English guy. You wonder if you will fit in because they all speak Hungarian. But it was very good for them to welcome me like they did and I felt at home straight away. I have learned a few words in Hungarian but it’s proper hard.
“The standard is really good but I thought I hit my stride and did well.
“It was a lot different to the Championship which is very direct and physical. Out there it was a lot more technical, crisp and sharp. It was good quality. I think that suits me because I am a technical player.
“When we played Northern Ireland, it was more like the Championship in the last half an hour and the lads were shocked. I told them that’s what British football is like.”
Styles was born and raised in Bury but has relatives in Hungary.
“My family went to Budapest to watch me make my debut then flew to Northern Ireland as well. To experience it with them made it even better.
“My Hungarian relatives were all buzzing and congratulating me on our group chat. Quite a lot of them watched the game. It was good to have the support of the whole family.
“Six months ago I would never have had a clue I would have gone in this direction. But that’s football.
“Those experience are priceless and to get them at such a young age is really good for my development.
“Hopefully I get called up again. We have England twice, Germany and Italy. They would be top experiences.
“It’s a possibility to play in the Euros or World Cup in the future but my main focus is on the next games for Barnsley.”
Styles enjoyed training alongside Dominik Szoboszlai, RB Leipzig’s forward who is considered one of the most exciting attacking talents in Europe.
“He’s a top-quality player. It was good to train alongside him. He’s a sound guy as well. It is good to be amongst those players and hopefully it helps me improve as a player.”
The Reds are eight points adrift with six games to play.
“Our aim is to get all the points available and I think we can. We’re not down yet. We don’t believe we will go down.”
Barnsley have conceded a series of late equalisers recently.
“We have spoken about the late goals. We’re looking to take that out of our game and push on. We want to dominate all through the game and not just for 70 or 80 minutes. It’s maybe a mindset of looking to protect the lead but we’re looking to change that. We sit back a bit too much.”