England footy star is no ordinary Joe

Joe Noblet with his England cap
Joe Noblet with his England cap
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Joe Noblet reclined his seat and settled back for the short flight back to the North West of England from Italy.

The promising 17-year-old footballer was pleased to be returning home to Preston – but there were a number of regrets at what he was leaving behind.

Noblet had played a starring role for England Colleges Under-19s as they reached the semi-finals of a European competition.

Unfortunately, due to a administrative mix-up, the England youngsters had to fly home on the day they were supposed to be facing Turkey in the semi-final.

“We reached the last four but unfortunately we had to come home because our flights had been booked on the same day as the semi-finals,” Noblett said.

“They messed up with the time of the flights and we could not change them. I don’t think they were expecting us to get through, so it was a big shambles. But it was still a great experience.”

Noblet believes he and his team-mates had a great opportunity to lift the trophy if they had been allowed to stay in Italy.

He said: “We definitely would have had a great chance.

“We were drawn against Turkey in the semi-final and then we would have played Romania in the final, so we would have had a good chance of winning.”

Nevetheless, it has still been an exhilarating few months for the Myerscough College student. Despite being prevented from claiming international honours, Noblet is still celebrating after he led Lancashire to victory in the National County Youth Cup.

After progressing all the way to the final, the Red Rose boys met Suffolk at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road.

And in a dramatic match, Lancashire needed extra time to secure a dramatic 3-2 victory over their opponents.

Noblet saw a shot of his cannon against the crossbar as the match finished all square at 2-2 after 90 minutes.

But in extra time, Lancashire secured victory when Noblet’s cross was turned home by AFC Fylde’s Cory Bent in the 117th minute.

“Winning with three minutes to go in the final was a great experience,” said Noblet, who is a former pupil of Brownedge St Mary’s High School, in Bamber Bridge. “There were a lot of people watching and I absolutely loved it.

“When we started off in the tournament, we weren’t expecting to go far because I think we only reached the second round last year.

“But we just rode our luck through the tournament – there were a few sending-offs which went our way.”

Noblet is currently studying for a foundation degree in football coaching and he still harbours hopes of becoming a professional footballer.

“There’s been a few lads from Myerscough who have gone on to play in the Football League,” said Noblet.

“Anthony Pilkington played in the Premier League with Norwich and there are one or two others who are playing in League One and Two.”