Roydon footballer aims for the big time again

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Like so many youngsters up and down the country last summer, Harry Whayman’s dreams of becoming a professional footballer were left in tatters.

After eight years on their books, Ipswich Town came to the conclusion that Whayman would not make the grade at Portman Road, citing his lack of physical presence as one of the leading factors behind their decision.

However, while others may have opted to pursue different careers, the 17-year-old from Roydon joined the football academy at the Norfolk campus of Easton and Otley College, where he combines training with studying.

Whayman’s refusal to not turn his back on the game has now paid dividends, with the attacker having made it through a trial process involving almost 200 players to be selected for the England Colleges Football Association national side.

And the former Diss High School pupil is determined to make the most of what he is viewing as a second chance to try to forge a living from football.

“Like most young lads, I have always wanted to be a footballer and that is why I did not want to give up,” he said.

“I have been working hard and I feel this call-up has given me another shot at making it in football.

“There are bound to be plenty of people watching, I just have to make sure I catch their eye.”

As part of his selection, later this month Whayman will head to the England senior side’s base at St George’s Park in Burton for a training camp and a fixture against Independent Schools Football Association on Thursday, December 15.

That will be followed by a game against a Chelsea side at the Premier League side’s training facility in Cobham, followed by a tour of Italy early next year.

Such experiences may be new to some of Whayman’s team-mates, but the former Scole youth player will benefit from having seen it all before with his old club.

“Being at Ipswich for so long, I have played against plenty of big teams over the last few years,” he added.

“For example, I have been down to Cobham a few times and know what that is all about.

“There is a mixture of excitement and pressure about what is to come over the next few months, but I will not be daunted because not too much of it will be new.”