A MILTON Keynes College footballer has had his first taste of playing for England.
Conor Collins from Bletchley went to Italy with the English Colleges FA Squad where he played against the Republic of San Marino and top Italian club, Lazio.
“When I heard I had been selected I was just overwhelmed and so happy,” said Collins.
“What was even better was standing there in a foreign country wearing an England shirt and hearing the national anthem at the start of the match. It was just a dream come true.”
Now that he has made the squad once, Collins is hopeful of playing more matches for his country later in the year.
He is studying for a BTEC in football at the College which is the equivalent of three A Levels and can lead to a job in the industry or to university entrance.
“The course is just perfect for me and I owe so much to my coach and lecturer, Mark Walsh,” added Collins. “Without him none of this would have happened.”
Walsh said: “We’re all chuffed to bits for Conor. He’s trained really hard and it’s brilliant to see it paying off.
“He’s a strong tackling centre midfielder with a good range of passing and he’ll have done the College proud in an England shirt.
“This is only the second year that we’ve been offering the football BTEC so everyone’s delighted because Conor’s success reflects very well on the course and the College.”
Collins has had trials at Northampton Town and Stevenage but is not yet signed to a professional club.
If he cannot find someone to give him a contract in this country he hopes to win a scholarship to an American university in future to play in their thriving college game.
“I would really recommend the course to people who are passionate about the game like me,” he said. “If I hadn’t gone to the College none of this would ever have happened.”