A teenage footballer is dribbling his way to the top after being selected to play for England Colleges U18s.
Jack Stanger, 18, from Sunderland, was selected to play after a series of trials and will now travel to Italy in the New Year to play in a tournament against other international teams.
The young footballer received the news on his father’s birthday. He said: “When I got the call to tell me I had been selected I was ecstatic.
“It was the best birthday present my Dad could have asked for. We were all so excited, I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.”
Jack, who plays centre midfield, made it through three stages of trials seeing off competition from hundreds of other young hopefuls before being selected.
The Sunderland AFC supporter is currently studying for a BTEC National Diploma in Sport (Development, Coaching and Fitness) at Sunderland College’s Football Development Centre.
Jack thanks the college for getting him to this level, he said: “Sunderland College has been a massive help in my development as a footballer and I owe them a big thank you for all their great support.”
The midfielder trains every day and has also managed to bag himself a contract with semi-professional team, Blyth Spartans.
Jack’s coach at College John Gamble, also played for Blyth Spartans so he knows all about the demands placed on the young footballer.
John said: “Jack trains extremely hard, is dedicated to sport and his studies so is very deserving of the call up.
“He’s very level headed so I’m sure he will do well.
Don Peattie, Head of Department for Sport, who also played for Blyth Spartans said: “Sunderland College is developing quite a reputation for sports excellence, Jack is the third footballer in four years to be called up to play for England Colleges.
“Students who come to study with us can be confident that the quality of teaching and learning and experience that they will get will be second to none.”
Jack is excited for his future, he said: “It really does feel like a dream come true. Being selected motivates me to continue to impress until I reach my ultimate goal of winning a professional contract.”
Jack has big hopes for the tour which will see the England side play three games in five days.
He said: “I am hoping that there will be scouts from top clubs at the games looking for new talent. To play football professionally would be the ultimate achievement for me.”