Teenager scores on international debut

Northallerton School and Sixth Form College student Jack Stapley.
Northallerton School and Sixth Form College student Jack Stapley.

A young footballer has been earmarked for top flight success after scoring on his international debut.

Northallerton School and Sixth Form College student Jack Stapley scored against Finland after being called up to play for the Northern Ireland U16 squad.

Central midfielder Jack, 15, who also plays for Middlesbrough Academy, was chosen for the international team after Northern Ireland scouts watched him play against Manchester United.

Jack, who lives in Northallerton, was eligible to play for the green and white army’s U16 squad through a link with his grandfather who was born in Belfast.

Jack, currently studying for his GCSEs, is hoping to be offered a two year football scholarship at Middlesbrough FC after completing his exams in the summer before pursuing his dream of playing at a professional level.

Jack said: “The scouts approached my dad and asked if he had any video footage of me playing in other games.

“We sent them a video and the next week they came back and watched me again and then I got the call saying that they wanted me to join the squad.

“Every footballer dreams of an international call up and it was so different from my usual games.

“They flew me over to Belfast for the match and in the changing rooms all our kits were hung up with our names on them ready for the game.

“It’s an experience I’ll never forget and even though we lost 3-2 it was an amazing feeling to score in my debut game.”