YOUNG football star Kyle Downey has been selected to play for the English Schools Under-18 squad.
Downey, a student at Ashington High School, has progressed through a number of regional and national trials to make the squad and is the first student at the school to reach that level in 40 years.
The 17-year-old, who plays for New Hartley Juniors and has also stepped out for Whitley Bay first team and reserves this season.
Kyle had to take part in three trials – at Blackburn, Derbyshire and Lilleshall – before being told he had made the selection.
He said: “I was chuffed to bits, really happy about it. My mam and dad are really proud too.
“It’s a great achievement. I’ll be meeting up with the squad in January and we will have a training session and then play Australia. I am really looking forward to it.”
Kyle’s coach at Ashington, Marc Nash, said: “Everyone at the school is naturally delighted with Kyle’s achievement and he is the first player in 40 years from Ashington High to make the England set up.
“Kyle has been part of our post-16 football development programme and he’s taken advantage of what we offer in terms of training an support.
“We had a student last year who failed at the final trial, but this year Kyle has made it and can now play on the international stage against the home countries in the Centenary Shield with two games live on Sky Sports, so it’s an exciting prospect.
“Kyle has had a couple of knocks, with unsuccessful trials at Newcastle United and Huddersfield, but ever since I first saw him play three years ago I knew we had a quality player that could achieve great things.
“His appetite for the game is incredible and his dedication, hard work and commitment has enabled him to represent his country.
“Whatever lies ahead for Kyle in football is unknown but nobody will be able to take this away from him and I urge the youngsters of Ashington to take note and see what can be achieved.”