Ones to watch: Two Sunderland teens get England call-ups
Two Sunderland College footballers have been given international recognition with call-ups to the England Schools FA squad.
Taylor Richardson and Matthew Wade, both 17, were called up to the under-18 squad. They will face their Australian counterparts in a friendly in January. In April 2020 they will contest the annual Centenary Shield against Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Taylor, who is being trialled by Gateshead FC too, also travelled to the FA’s base at St George’s Park in Staffordshire to take part in English Colleges squad training. He was given his international debut against the Independent Schools FA.
The game ended in a 4-3 win for English Colleges, with skilful winger Taylor scoring the winner.
Taylor, who also plays for Seaham Red Star, said: “I am over the moon to represent my country.
“I thought I performed well in what were really tough trials. But I was still shocked and delighted to be picked for my country and get a chance to perform on the national stage and show what I can do.
“I’d like to thank my family, especially Dad, for encouragement, believing in me and investing time in me.”
Matthew is a quick defender who plays centre-half or right-back. He said: "When I found out I made the England Schools’ squad, I was buzzing.
“I have to thank Improtech for training me for four years and the coaches at South Shields FC Academy where I am playing now.
“But I have to also thank my mam and dad for everything they do for me. I couldn't do it without them.”
Sunderland-based Improtech is a coaching company operating in select schools and colleges across the North East.
Soccer director of football education, Steve Golightly said: “We’re thrilled for the boys who have worked so hard at their games over the years.
“It’s always a pleasure to see talented footballers who apply themselves and get the recognition they deserve; and that’s certainly true in Matty and Taylor’s cases.”