Jordan Ngalo has moved a step closer to fulfilling his dream of becoming a professional footballer after being selected for England Schoolboys’ under-18 squad.
The 17-year-old Portsmouth College student is now in line to play for the Three Lions against Australia on Saturday at Lilleshall National Sports Centre (11am), before doing battle in the prestigious Centenary Shield Home Nations tournament in March and April.
For Pompey fan Ngalo, who has never been on the books at a football club, the journey to international recognition has been something of a whirlwind.
And after impressing in his final round of trials at Lilleshall earlier this month, the news he had been selected for national duty proved a moment to savour for his whole family.
Ngalo said: ‘I had four different trials before getting to Lilleshall, which was the last step in the selection process.
‘I played a very physical game up there against the RAF but enjoyed it.
‘But I wasn’t at home when the letter came in the post – I was at college doing some work.
‘My mum picked it up and was so excited she opened it!
‘She rang me on the phone but I didn’t pick up because I was in class.
‘When I went on break I rang her back and she told me I had got into the England team.
‘I was like: “wow, did I?”
‘I was so excited but I couldn’t really show it because I was surrounded by other people.
‘My mum was screaming and shouting and my dad was there in the background as well, it was a nice moment.’
For versatile Ngalo, who can play in central defence or midfield, it’s an achievement made all the more remarkable by the fact he had never taken football seriously until joining Portsmouth College.
He said: ‘I have never been on the books at a football club before.
‘Until last year I hadn’t really been what I would consider serious about it.
‘I always played Sunday League football, but since meeting the coaches at Portsmouth College they have seen something in me as a person and a player to take me onto the next level.
‘I have developed my understanding of the tactical and technical side of the game.
‘My movement and passing has improved and they have helped me physically and mentally.
‘Coach Dan Sackman, especially, has helped me a lot.’
The ultimate aim for Ngalo now is to emulate famous Lilleshall predecessors such, as Michael Owen, in turning professional, with the dream now a step closer to becoming a reality.
He added: ‘The dream definitely is to be a professional football player.
‘Growing up you idolise certain players and try to play like them – for me it was Vincent Kompany.
‘I am a Portsmouth fan but for now it’s just a dream.’