Goalkeeper Marcus Burgess is using the seismic rise of England’s number one Joe Hart as inspiration to enhance his own international credentials.
The Burnley College Academy of Sport stopper, who is on loan at Padiham from Ramsbottom United until the end of the season, represented the England Colleges Men’s team at the prestigious Roma Caput Mundi competition having impressed on his debut in a 3-2 win over Australia in January.
The 17-year-old, chosen ahead of Gateshead College’s Shaun MacDonald, was involved in a 5-3 defeat to a strong Malta side, before keeping a clean sheet in a 1-0 victory over San Marino. The youngster then played half the fixture as England lost 1-0 to Italy in Rome.
After trailing 5-0 in the opening game against the Maltese, Toby Hilliard and a double from substitute Declan Watson made the scoreline more respectable.
Hilliard scored again as England triumphed over San Marino, before the hosts condemned Burgess and co to a 1-0 loss and a consequent exit from the tournament.
“It was really good,” he said. “It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed it. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend away among an England international set-up. The standard of the tournament was really good because Malta and San Marino played their actual under 18 sides.
“It’s a really prestigious competition and it was an honour to be a part of it. I was really happy with my performances on an international stage against some of the best players in those countries. It sets a standard for where I want to be and the level I want to play at.”
He added: “These recent experiences will help me move my career forward and enhance my performances in game situations. Joe Hart is certainly somebody I look up to. He started off at Shrewsbury so that shows it’s possible to work your way up. That’s what I aspire to do.”
The talented teenager, who also trains with Everton’s Academy twice a week, will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Marko Marosi after the former Burnley College Sixth Form student signed a professional contract with FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic last year while progressing to Slovakia’s Under 21 set-up.
Burgess will get his chance to polish his reputation even further when representing England Colleges Men again versus Scotland and Wales and against Burton Albion’s youth team at St George’s Park.
“It’s going to be massive because that’s where all of England’s camps are based,” he said. “It will be another incredible experience. I just want to push myself now and grasp any opportunity that comes my way. It would be great to get a chance at a professional club.”
England will play Wales in the second leg of the Anglo Welsh Shield at Newport’s National Development Centre on March 26th, before taking on Scotland at Gateshead’s International Stadium on April 22nd.