Tom King, a young football player from Cheltenham Town, has made history by becoming the first Cheltenham Town player ever to be selected for the England national team at any age level. He made history earlier by becoming the youngest player in Cheltenham Town’s history to play in the EFL (English Football League). He did this when he came off the bench in a match against Shrewsbury Town when he was just 16 years and 319 days old.
Now that he’s 17, he’s going to Spain to play in three matches over the next 10 days, against teams from Belgium, Morocco, and Korea Republic. Tom King was born in Gloucester and grew up in Dursley, where he still lives with his family. He hasn’t gotten his driver’s license yet, so his parents often drop him off at the GCHQ roundabout, and he bikes the rest of the way to the Seasons training ground. He started playing football when he was very young, around six or seven, with a team called Cam Everside. They were really good and even won an Under-11 cup final at Whaddon Road. This inspired him to pursue a career in football. Later, he moved to Gloucester City’s Junior Premier League team, but then he got a chance to try out for Cheltenham when he was 15, and he joined their academy when he turned 16.
Tom King is also a talented rugby player and has played for Dursley RFC at the youth level as a fly-half.
He’s known for being very analytical about his performance in sports and did well in his school exams. Now he’s working toward a BTEC qualification, which is like having three A-levels. His journey in rugby had to take a back seat as he focused more on football. He had a minor injury but still impressed enough in Cheltenham’s early friendly matches to be included in the squad for their first match of the season against Shrewsbury. He made his EFL debut during this match.
Tom comes from a family that loves sports. His dad used to be a semi-professional road cyclist in France, and his mom is a personal trainer and a track sprinter. They were both there to watch him make history in the Shrewsbury match, and now he has the chance to play for England. When asked about his England selection, Tom King said, “It feels amazing to be chosen. Playing for a Category Three Academy, it’s not common to get selected at this level. I’m really excited to represent my country.”
He’s looking forward to playing with talented players from all over the world and hopes this experience will make him a better player and give him a better understanding of the game. Then he’ll come back and keep working hard. Cheltenham Town has had players selected for schoolboy squads before, but Tom is the first one to receive a cap from the FA itself.
The England Under-18s team is coached by Ryan Garry, a former Arsenal and Bournemouth defender. Here is the full squad:
Goalkeepers: Ted Curd (Hashtag United, on loan from Chelsea), Elyh Harrison (Manchester United), Tommy Setford (Ajax)
Defenders: Zach Abbott (Nottingham Forest), Josh Acheampong (Chelsea), Joe Johnson (Luton Town), Jayden Meghoma (Southampton), Harrison Murray Campbell (Chelsea), Triston Rowe (Aston Villa), Lakyle Samuel (Manchester City), Ishé Samuels Smith (Chelsea)
Midfielders: Samuel Amo-Ameyaw (Southampton), Michael Golding (Chelsea), Finley McAllister (Manchester United), Anthony Munda (Newcastle United), Chris Rigg (Sunderland), Reiss-Alexander Russell-Denny (Chelsea)
Forwards: Jayden Danns (Liverpool), Jimmy Jay Morgan (Chelsea), Tom King (Cheltenham Town), Zakariya Lovelace (Glasgow Rangers), Joel Ndala (Manchester City), Justin Oboavwoduo (Manchester City), Archie Stevens (Glasgow Rangers), Tom Watson (Sunderland)
Image Source: https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/66482419