Friday, 19 October 2018

Caversham teenager set to make international debut

A TEENAGE footballer from Caversham is targeting an international debut after she was called up to the Wales squad

A TEENAGE footballer from Caversham is targeting an international debut after she was called up to the Wales squad.

Charlie Estcourt, 16, will join the side, ranked 33rd in the world by FIFA, for the Istria Cup in Croatia next month and will be given a first international cap if she plays in one of the four matches.

Central midfielder Charlie, whose favourite player is Manchester Cityâ??s Frank Lampard, lives in Conisboro Avenue with parents Simon, 45, a company director and Kim, 47, a housewife, sister Emily, 18, who goes to Henley College, and the familyâ??s Jack Russell Rolo.

She qualifies for Wales through her grandfather and has played for the junior teams since she was 13. She has already captained the U17s side but says she never expected to be called up to the senior squad so soon.

Charlie said: "It will be crazy if I get my first cap next month, I didn't think I'd get the opportunity this early.

â??Jayne Ludlow has recently taken over the team and has adopted a philosophy that it doesnâ??t matter how old you are as long as you are good enough for the team. I was first asked to go along to training with the seniors in January and was called up to another training camp in February.

â??My ambition over this next year is to get some proper senior international experience.â?�

The call-up comes just weeks after Charlie rejoined hometown club Reading after four years at the Chelsea academy.

The teenager goes to school at the John Madejski Academy and was approached in January by former Arsenal player Ludlow, who also coaches Reading and teaches at the academy. The side is one of the favourites to win promotion from the Womenâ??s Super League 2 this season.

Charlie had previously attended Readingâ??s school of excellence before it folded in 2011.

She said: â??Jayne told me she wanted me for the first team squad and I couldnâ??t turn that down. I put in a transfer request at Chelsea, they wanted me to stay but understood that it was for a first team position.

â??When I rejoined in January there were lots of the same coaches and I knew some of the girls from the school of excellence.

â??Iâ??m aiming to be involved in the squad on matchdays and hopefully working my way up to a starting spot. We have a strong squad this season and have added depth over the break. Itâ??s really exciting.â?�

Charlie, who used to attend Chiltern Edge school in Sonning Common, started playing football aged four when she joined a junior side in Rotherfield Peppard run by her uncle. She played in a mixed team with boys until she was eight, when her father entered her into a trial for the Reading centre of excellence at Bradfield College.

She said: â??My dad didnâ??t tell me it was a trial, he just said it was a fun day. When I was told I had got in it was amazing, I had been away at summer camp and when I got home they phoned me.â?�

Charlie was 12 when Reading lost its licence. She went for trials at several different clubs and was offered a place at Oxford before moving to Chelsea.

She said: â??It was a better club with better facilities although I had to travel to and from Cobham and the traffic was pretty bad at times.

â??We would always drive past the menâ??s facilities and often bumped into players. John Terryâ??s daughter joined the clubâ??s U9s team so he would sometimes be on the sidelines with the other parents. It was pretty cool meeting JT and I saw Frank Lampard a few times as well.â?�

Charlie was considered one of Chelseaâ??s rising stars and was promoted to the clubâ??s reserves side last season before Reading came in.

She could be in line to make her Reading debut when the league starts in March, but will be denied the chance to play in the FA Cup after the team was disqualified last week for fielding two ineligible players in the 3-0 win over Crystal Palace on February 8.

She said: â??It was an honest mistake and everyone is disappointed but we now have to focus on the league and it might be good for us not to have any other distractions.

â??The womenâ??s game has grown really quickly over the last couple of years and as long as the media keep backing us it will get stronger and stronger. It helps that we play in the summer so we arenâ??t competing with the menâ??s game.â?�

Mr Estcourt said: â??Charlieâ??s done amazingly well. She works incredibly hard and puts in a lot of time on her fitness and technical ability. Since she joined the JMA sheâ??s playing every day which makes a massive difference.

â??Her rise has been a bit quicker than I thought it would be but we are all very proud. Weâ??ve travelled a lot of miles over the years for her football but we wouldnâ??t have done it if she wasnâ??t so committed.â?�

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