Jordan Ainsworth is taking inspiration from the likes of Ian Wright, Charlie Austin and Stuart Pearce in a bid to become a professional footballer.
The Holy Cross Catholic High School student has been selected for Lancashire Under-16s football squad but believes he is the only player there who has never been linked to an Academy.
“I have always just played for school or for my club and a few professional clubs are said to be looking at me now,” said striker and Year 11 student Ainsworth, 16,
“I think I am the only one in the Lancashire Under-16s who isn’t at an Academy and there are some who are on football scholarships but it doesn’t worry me – I think I have surprised a few people and it’s nice to do that.
“Charlie Austin and Ian Wright went the long way around becoming a professional footballer so it can be done.”
Ainsworth captains his school team and is used to lifting trophies as they have celebrated back-to-back doubles, winning the Chorley and District League and Cup.
He also plays for Southport Trinity in the Sunday League at Under-18s level and went to the Lancashire trials for the first time.
“It was at QEGS in Blackburn and I think around 75 started the trials, they got it down to 25, we played some friendlies and now the squad is 18,” he said.
“There are meant to be quite a few clubs watching the trials so you never know. I guess I am a bit of a dark horse but I like it that way.”
Ainsworth recently played in Lancashire’s 5-0 win over Worcestershire, coming off the bench to set up one of the goals and score another to take them into the ESFA Under 16 League Cup quarter-finals.
Holy Cross PE teacher Neil Black, who is also assistant manager of NPL side Prescot Cables, said: “Jordan’s strengths are his pace and he is very skilful – he can change a game – and I am sure a professional club will take a chance on him.”