A FOOTBALLING dream is about to come true – at the double – for a teenager in the Wansbeck area.
For Mark Cullen, 16, is hoping to make his debut for England Boys Club next week in the Home International tournament - a few months after having signed up for a two-year scholarship with Hull City.
Mark, who lives in Green Lane and is a student at Ashington High School, netted 70 goals in competitive matches last season and was a prolific scorer for Ashington U16s AFC.
"I was sitting at home when the phone rang and much to my surprise it was Alan Watson, the England manager," said Shaun Willis, boss of Ashington U16s AFC.
"He had watched Mark playing for Northumberland and wanted to take him for trials."
Mark successfully came through three sets of trials held at Leicester, Newcastle and Sunderland before clinching his place in the final squad of 16 for the Home Internationals which were being staged at the Police Headquarters, Aykley Heads, Durham at the weekend.
"I scored a couple of goals in the trials and thought I had impressed," said Mark.
"I'm chuffed to bits - and feel very proud."
A few days after the event, Mark will link up with Premiership newcomers Hull City to begin pre-season training – and start a two-year scholarship: "Ever since I was a boy it's been my ambition to become a professional footballer and now I have a great opportunity in front of me," he said.
Shaun Willis added: "Mark wanted to play for us and he's been a real pleasure to have in our club for nearly four years.
"For the past two seasons, he was joint skipper along with Anthony Watson and we're all keeping our fingers crossed for him.
"We send Mark our best wishes not only for England but also with Hull City and hope his career goes from strength to strength."