THIS time last year Eric Webber was a newcomer to the international stage with England.

He steps back onto it this week as captain of his country’s under 23s team.

“It will feel different this time!” he predicted.

“But I’m up for it.”

After making his debut at the European 8Ball Pool Federation Championships, he returned home determined it wouldn’t be his only appearance there.

True to his word, he travelled to Killarney in Ireland on Saturday in confident mood.

READ > Webber shines on international debut

He knows what he’s letting himself in for too.

“I’ve tried to do more practice because there will be more expected of me,” said the 22-year-old.

“I don’t mind that because I want to do better than I did last year – that’s my aim.”

The bar is set high.

He reached the last eight of the singles for his age-group category in Malta 12 months ago and was part of an England B side that narrowly missed out on a semi-finals place.

Webber also made it to the last 32 in the men’s singles.

He said: “I remember feeling nervous, and it probably took me three games before I settled.

“I noticed that less when I went to the world championships a few months later, and so hopefully it will be the same again.

“I’m playing pretty well and have been making 8-ball breaks in practice.

“I can beat a lot of these guys, but you also need a little bit of luck because the standard is so good.

“The break is so important; if you don’t pot something, it's likely your opponent won’t give you a second chance.”

READ > Best of 2018: England selectors look to Northwich duo

He admitted to the Guardian that meeting up with his teammates as their captain for the first time will take some getting used to.

However Webber, who plays for champions Gladstone C in the Northwich and District League’s top-flight and is a regular for Cheshire’s men's A team, is relaxed at that prospect.

He has led a Northwich representative side to success at interleague competitions and is a selector for the county side this season.

“With England we have a new manager as well so I’m not 100 per cent sure yet how things will run,” said Webber, who lives in Castle.

“There are parts of the job that don’t get any easier, like telling one of your mates he won’t be playing, but that’s just something you have to do every now and again.”

He flew to Ireland on Saturday and safely negotiated a first-round tie in the men's singles by brushing aside Scot Greg Gamlin (6-1).

George Efstathiou, a Cypriot, awaits at the next stage.

Meanwhile England A, with Webber on duty, edged out England B (6-3) in their opening group-stage game on Monday morning and take on Northern Ireland in the afternoon.