National call-up for dale footballer Ben
A PROMISING dale footballer has been selected for an England Schools squad.
Teenager Ben Reay, of Marwood, will line up for the national schools side in the new year for games against the RAF U23s, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.
There is also a training session in the Netherlands.
The 17-year-old attends the Darlington College/Martin Gray Football Academy and was selected for the national squad after completing rigorous trials.
He joined his current training programme, a partnership between football and education run by the Martin Gray Football Academy (MGFA) at Darlington College, last year, having previously attended Sunderland’s Foundation of Light.
“Since joining MGFA, I have been selected to play for my county and taken part in my first ever football trials, with Middlesbrough and Sunderland,” said Ben, a keen Boro fan, who is inspired by Aston Villa’s No10 Jack Grealish.
“My name was then put forward for England Schools and we are due to play the RAF U23s on January 25.
“I’m really enjoying my course which mixes football skills, competitive matches, strength and conditioning and education.”
He added: “I’ve loved football for as long as I can remember and my dad John has been coaching me since I was about five. He is thrilled with my selection. Things are going really well at the moment and I hope to play at the highest level I can for as long as possible.”
Martin Gray said: “We have certainly managed to ignite Ben’s passion for the sport and he is now making a name for himself in the game. It is great for Darlington College too, to have someone now playing for the country.
“Ben is so committed to learning and developing his game.
“He constantly wants to be challenged and takes his training and education very seriously to give himself the very best chances of success. I am really excited about his future.”