Local schoolboy Ryan Fulton is well on his way to making a real name for himself at Premier League giants Liverpool.
Goalkeeper Ryan, 14, a pupil at Shuttleworth School in Padiham, has recently signed a scholarship with the Anfield club, a full year before he can actually start it!
The usual procedure is for youngsters to be offered the deal when they turn 16, but Ryan has already been given full time terms, and his dad Brian Fulton couldn’t be prouder.
He said: “They called us into the office last Monday and Ryan signed the forms straight away!
“He starts full time employment with Liverpool as soon as he finishes school and obviously he’s absolutely made up.”
Ryan’s burgeoning talent was spotted by a Merseyside scout whilst playing for local youth side Brunlea three years ago.
He was offered a trial at Liverpool, lasting two and a half weeks, which resulted in the offer of a youth player deal, and he hasn’t looked back since.
His undoubted quality isn’t going un-noticed either.
As his father heralds from Scotland, he is eligbile to play internationally north of the border, and was requested for a trial with the national side.
Unfortunately for the youngster, the Scottish FA hadn’t checked his age, as he was too young to be called up for the Under 16s age group.
“In Scotland they run the years from January to January, not August to August, so Ryan was too young to get in the team then, which was a shame”
“We dropped him off at Hampden Park and from there he went to the training camp in Lanarkshire.
“He was the youngest of 35 lads who were dwindled down to the ones that they wanted.
“We think they’ll want him to go back up there when he’s old enough.”
With his father’s Scottish roots, a national selection would be incredible for a boy his age: “Ryan likes Burnley, but he’s a Rangers fan and obviously it’s where I’m from, so it would be great for him to play up there.”
It’s not always been about goalkeeping for Ryan though.
Being a goalkeeper isn’t exactly a fashionable choice for young kids growing up, and it wasn’t the shot stopper’s first position. His dad said: “He actually started off for Brunlea playing on the wing, but after a year moved into the nets and he’s loved it ever since.”
His career at Anfield is already starting to take off as well.
Last season Ryan was incredibly on the bench for a Liverpool Under 18s match that was screened live on LFCTV, a huge moment for the youngster.
“Obviously if anything had happened to the first choice keeper Ryan would have been on the pitch.
“With him being so young it was excellent for him to be there, being so much younger than eceryone else!”
Liverpool have certainly been blessed with big name keepers in the past, talents such as Ray Clemence, David James, Bruce Grobbelaar to name a few, while current inumbent of the number one jersey is World Cup winning Spaniard Pepe Reina.
Ryan has a long way to go be anything like those names, but he’s certainly started off in the right way, so remember then name, Ryan Fulton.