Male delivers the goods for England

Harrison Male.
Harrison Male.

Harrison Male was England U16s’ hero as they beat the United States on penalties at the weekend.

Harrison Male was England U16s’ hero as they beat the United States on penalties at the weekend.

The Bridlington-based keeper, who was making his debut for the national side, saved twice in the shoot-out after the sides were level at 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Male rose to the occasion at St George’s Park, impressing a crowd of around 600, which included England under 21s manager Gareth Southgate.

Dad Darren said: “He has been to plenty of trainign camps over the past six months but this was his first official game for the U16s and he played superbly.

“I’m sure he had nerves when he was singing the national anthem, but after the game he said he thought he had done OK and the feedback from the coaches was that he had played very well.”

The England starting line-up featured four players on the books of Premier League champions Chelsea, as well as youngsters from Arsenal, and Manchester United.

Male was beaten in the first half but Wolves’ Austin Samuels levelled before the break.

America went 2-1 up in the second half but a goal by Marc Guehi of Chelsea took the friendly to penalties, where Male saved twice to seal a 4-2 win.

“It was brilliant,” said Darren. Everything about St George’s Park is second to none.

“The whole experience is just like the full England team, from singing the anthem at the start to getting to keep your shirt after the game.

“His name will go on the board at Leeds’ training complex at Thorpe Arch, alongside all the full internationals who have come through the academy.

“The FA sent a car to pick him up from home last week and take him to join up with the squad.

“I was so proud and told him to enjoy the moment, you never know if it will be your first game or your last.

“Every club in the country seemed to have somebody there with a notebook, but we know there is still a long way to go.”

England and America were due to face each other in a second friendly yesterday.

Male, who is only 14, has signed a four year deal with Leeds United, and has occasionally trained with the first team.

He has been with the Elland Road club since he was six, initially being picked up as a midfielder. But when his team’s goalkeeper was injured during a game, Male stepped in between the posts and has stayed there ever since.

“They said his hand-eye co-ordination was superb and asked if he wanted to stay in goal,” said Darren.

Male, who goes to Headlands School and is a former pupil at Martongate School, goes to Leeds’ Thorpe Arch training complex four times a week.

He represented the club’s under 16s and under 18s team last season, and he had plenty of Bridlington support for his appearance at the national football centre.

A party of 10 friends and family, including Darren and his wife Tracey, went to the game and Darren praised all the local people who have helped and supported Harrison’s career so far.

During a brief rest from football during the close season, the teenager made his debut for Bridlington Cricket Club’s first team, playing three games as wicketkeeper, before a couple of training sessions with Bridlington Town to get back up to speed before returning to Leeds.