Goalkeeper Jack plays out England dream

Goalkeeper Jack Little trained at England training base St George's Park
Goalkeeper Jack Little trained at England training base St George's Park

Unity College pupil Jack Little has followed in the footsteps of Clarets stopper Tom Heaton after training with England at St George’s Park.

The 16-year-old Accrington Stanley youth goalkeeper was invited to join up with the national set-up for a two-day training camp and work with some of the country’s hottest prospects.

“I got told England scouts were coming to watch me when I was playing for Accrington and I was nervous and excited at the same time,” said Jack, who lives in Burnley.

“The club then got an email inviting me to the England training camp and I had a massive smile on my face.

“It’s a totally different world. It was surreal and everything was so professional. We had our kit laid out, we stayed overnight and the facilities were fantastic.

“My strengths are my shot-stopping and handling but the England coaches told me how to improve my game.”

The talented teenager, who represented Pendle Forest as a youngster, originally started out with the Burnley Academy but was released when he was 12.

However, he’s since settled with the Reds at the Crown Ground after impressing while on trial.

“I was gutted to be honest as I was a Burnley fan so it was hard,” he said.

“It’s great at Accrington, it is a family club, everyone at the Academy is easy to talk to and I enjoy the coaching. It has helped me to develop.”

Despite being younger, he has played for Stanley’s Under 18s this season, as well as Lancashire Under 16s, and this has helped his development.

“It is good playing alongside players who are older than me as they talk to me and it will help me become a better player. I want to be the best I can.”

As well as his England call-up, his other big dream was to make the bench for John Coleman’s side this season.

“It almost happened,” said Jack. “They asked me to be on the bench for Dagenham away in April and it was a huge confidence boost.

“But then, the Saturday before, I cut my ankle playing in an Under 18 match and so I missed out. I was absolutely gutted but I had to pick myself up really quickly as I had to go on the England camp a few days later.

“Hopefully I will get the opportunity next season and I hope to get another England chance as there are four camps throughout the year and they said they would keep an eye on me.”

And he has had a helping hand from a former Stanley keeper. Kenny Arthur designs his own range of gloves and Jack admitted: “I have always worn Kenny’s gloves and then I emailed him to tell him about my England call-up and he sent me my own pair. I felt honoured.”