After the likes of Phil Foden and Rhian Brewster helped inspire England to an historic victory in last year’s Under-17s World Cup, the Young Lions are back – and Yorkshire youngster Marcus Dewhurst is hoping to be right at the sharp end of the action.
The 17-year-old Sheffield United goalkeeper is striving to be part of Steve Cooper’s squad for the 2018 UEFA European Under-17 Championship, which gets under way on Friday, May 4.
The reigning World champions will roll out the red carpet for the continent’s elite at venues such as the Proact Stadium in Chesterfield and Rotherham’s New York Stadium, which will also be the venue for the final on May 20.
Dewhurst, who joined the Blades after a spell as a scholar at Hull City, was an outfield player up until the age of 14 but having moved between the sticks, he is keen to grasp his potential U17 Euro opportunity with two very safe hands.
“I used to play as a striker and in central midfield – it wasn’t working out!” said Dewhurst, who went to South Hunsley School in Melton.
“I kept being told that I should try going in goal because whenever my keeper was injured, I’d go in and I used to enjoy it.
“I got scouted within the first five months of playing in goal.
“One of my main strengths, coming from my past, is playing with my feet.
“It’s something that not a lot of goalkeepers can do. I think, from the past, when I played as an outfielder; it’s helped me a lot.
“I look up to Jordan Pickford and Ederson from Man City. They’re good with their feet and they make saves as well.
“When I watch them, I watch what they do in goal first but I then also look at what they do with distribution as well. It’s not just about keeping the ball out of the net.”
In March, Dewhurst penned his first professional contract at Bramall Lane.
There seemingly couldn’t be a better opportunity for the Blades starlet to bolster his profile than a tournament that helped launch the careers of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Paul Pogba – with the added bonus of a home crowd.
Dewhurst added: “Representing the country means a lot to me because there’s a lot of people that could have my spot but I’m the one that’s got it – a lot of people want it.
“Coming from Sheffield, it’s good to have it locally.
“If selected for U17 Euro, I’ll have support from my friends and family. A lot of people would come anyway but it wouldn’t be far for them to come and watch me.
“It would be a big opportunity because it can get you noticed.
“I watched the World Cup last year and I was thinking: ‘that will be me soon’.”
See the stars of tomorrow in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship, 4-20 May 2018. Visit www.TheFA.com/U17Euro for tickets and further information.