A YOUNG footballer from Pawlett is to realise his childhood dreams of representing his country after being selected for the England Colleges team to play against Australia later this month.

Bradley Ash, 17, who attends Weston College, will make his debut for the national side after impressing in gruelling trial process.

Bradley is in the second year of an Extended Diploma in Sport, and is one of the youngest players ever to turn out regularly for the first team of Skrill South side Weston-super-Mare AFC.

Bradley said: “I was so happy to be selected for my country and I'm really looking forward to playing well and scoring some goals. I want to do the best I can because it could lead to some amazing opportunities in professional football.”

He now follows in the footsteps of Premiership stars like Norwich City winger Anthony Pilkington, who began his career with the national Colleges side.

After passing regional trials in Bridgwater, midfielder Bradley went on to qualify in the South of England category, despite not having the best of games. However, he turned his fortunes around in the national qualifier and was selected to play for England.

Selected players follow a programme similar to that of the FA's England Youth national teams thanks to the close links established between the two organisations.

Professional Club scouts, US University scouts and non-league club scouts regularly attend England Colleges Football fixtures, providing a great platform for players who impress to progress further in football.

Paul Taylor, Weston College's Sports Development and Performance Manager, said: “I've known Brad for a few years now and he's a very able and talented young footballer. It is a real honour for him, and for Weston College, to be chosen to play for his country.”