Sittingbourne teenager Josh Wisson reckons playing in the Ryman League has earned him his England call-up.
The Brickies midfielder hailed the league this week after being named in the 18-man England Schoolboys U18s squad preparing to take on the other home nations in the upcoming 2015 Centenary Shield campaign. After heading to Spain next month for a training camp, Wisson could kick off his international career in March when England head to Northern Ireland in their opening game.
The 17-year-old, pictured, credits the experience he’s gained turning out in Ryman South after being called into the first team squad by manager Nick Davis for giving him the extra edge to beat off stiff competition at regional trials and then 32 other hopefuls who made it through to national trials at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre last weekend.
Ahead of Sittingbourne hosting Tooting & Mitcham at Woodstock Park on Saturday, Wisson told Kent Online: “It’s been a big step playing men’s football. Nick’s given me a lot of experience in the first team and where Ryman South is a physical league, it was one thing I had over a lot of boys at the trials. Where I’m used to men’s football I wasn’t scared of the physical side of playing – I was confident I could outmuscle the big boys.”
Proud Brickies boss Davis added: “I’m delighted for Josh. He’s good at everything. He’s physically strong, puts himself about, is a good size, good in the air and he can tackle, pass and shoot.”
Wisson could make his international debut alongside Ryman Youth League star James O’Halloran after the Maidstone United winger was also named in the England ESFA squad following the Lilleshall trials.
The Stones are currently third in the Ryman East Youth League table and O’Halloran is dreaming of following in the footsteps of Manchester United and England defender Chris Smalling who also played in the Centenary Shield while playing first team football for last season’s Ryman Premier champions.