A TEENAGE footballer is dribbling his way to the top after being selected to play for England Colleges under-18s.
Jack Stanger, 18, from Sunderland, was selected to play after a series of trials and will now travel to Italy in the new year to play in a tournament against other national teams.
The young footballer, who received the news on his father’s birthday, said: “When I got the call to tell me I had been selected I was ecstatic.
“It was the best birthday present my dad could have asked for. We were all so excited. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
Jack, who plays centre midfield, made it through three stages of trials seeing off competition from hundreds of other young hopefuls before being selected.
The Sunderland AFC supporter is studying for a Btec National Diploma in Sport (Development, Coaching and Fitness) at Sunderland College’s Football Development Centre.
Jack said: “Sunderland College has been a massive help in my development as a footballer, and I owe them a big thank-you for all their great support.”
The midfielder trains every day and has also managed to bag himself a contract with semi-professional team Blyth Spartans.
John Gamble, who coaches Jack at the college, said: “Jack trains extremely hard, is dedicated to sport and his studies so is very deserving of the call up.
“He’s very level headed, so I’m sure he will do well.”
Don Peattie, head of department for Sport, added: “Sunderland College is developing quite a reputation for sports excellence. Jack is the third footballer in four years to be called up to play for England Colleges.”
An excited Jack said: “It really does feel like a dream come true. Being selected motivates me to continue to impress until I reach my ultimate goal of winning a professional contract.”
He has big hopes for the tour ,which will see the England side play three games in five days.
He said: “I am hoping that there will be scouts from top clubs at the games, looking for new talent. To play football professionally would be the ultimate achievement for me.”