SUFFOLK teenager Harvey Sayer has been called-up to the England Under-15 squad.
Harvey, who attends Bungay High School, was spotted by Colchester United while playing for Suffolk Schools and subsequently signed a two-year scholarship with the Sky Bet League Two club.
It was while playing for Colchester that he was watched by England and he has been selected for a four-day training camp at St George’s Park.
This is taking place from February 12th-15th and includes a double-header fixture against Belgium.
Harvey, who can play as a left back or left winger, said: “When my mum told me I was in utter disbelief and shocked. I was so happy that I had just got a call-up from England. I couldn’t believe it would happen to me in my life – only in my dreams.
“It still hasn’t properly sunk in – it still seems only a dream – I keep looking at the email that was sent to me. It isn’t a dream, this is really going to happen!
“I can’t wait to put on an England shirt and play the best I can for my country. I thought the nearest thing I would get to putting on an England shirt was buying one from Sports Direct! It really is a dream come true.
Although he was born in Gorleston, Harvey lives in Bungay and started playing at Bungay Town aged five, before joining Norwich City’s Academy as an eight-year-old but was released four years later and played for Old Catton.
He was spotted by Colchester while playing against their Academy for Suffolk Schools and invited for a six-week trial in November 2016, but was offered a contract until the end of the season after just one week which he signed on his 14th birthday in January last year. He was subsequently offered a two-year contract.
Harvey, now 15, who was offered a scholarship by Colchester at the end of last year, continued: “I’ve dreamt of this since I first played for Norwich Academy and as I progressed with my football I kept wishing and hoping that the day would come and it finally has. I’m so thrilled and overwhelmed.
“I hope to get many more call-ups and many more appearances for England and my dream is to become a professional footballer, and to be in the England squad.
“I’ve been playing for Suffolk Schools for two years but I haven’t been able to play many games this season as I was given a two-year contract by Colchester.
“When I first joined Suffolk Schools I had been released from Norwich Academy and my confidence was low. Suffolk Schools helped me gain my confidence back, which helped me give the best performance I could.
“They supported me throughout and gave me the opportunity and coached me to believe in myself and become an even better footballer for which I’m truly grateful.”
Harvey’s mum, Karen Blakeburn, said: “I was very overwhelmed, happy, emotional and extremely proud that Harvey had a call-up from England.
“From a mother’s point of view, to see your child work so, so hard and put his heart and soul into his football and get rewarded with something that you can only dream about, and only happens to other people, is absolutely amazing.
“I can’t find the words to express how happy and proud I feel. Dreams do come true and hard work does pay off.”
Robert Peace, Chairman of Suffolk County Schools’ FA, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Harvey and he should be very proud of his achievements so far in his short time in the game.
“It does still show there is a value in representing your county and the potential opportunities the games can lead to. We wish Harvey all the success with his England call up and hope he continues in his development.”
Harvey’s Suffolk Schools’ manager Simon Poacher said: “This is a massive achievement for Harvey. The attitude and commitment he has shown as well as his undoubted talent has been a pleasure to work with over the past two seasons. I wish him all the best representing his country!”
Colchester United Academy Manager Jon De Souza added: “The football club are both delighted and proud that Harvey has been called up to represent England. His call up his testament to the hard work put in by all the staff, parents and players within our Academy.
“Although it is only a small step towards the goal of playing for our first team, it is always a fantastic achievement to be called up to represent your country. We wish Harvey all the best, and hope he can demonstrate his potential during his time with England.”
Harvey is pictured above (right) with Sean Thacker, who is Head of Coaching at Colchester United’s Academy.