The winner of an X-Factor style talent show for footballers has just been recruited by Northern Ireland.
Carl Magnay, who was the winner of Football Icon on Sky two years ago, has been named in the Northern Ireland under-21 squad for the friendly in Scotland on Tuesday November 18.
Magnay was handed a contract by Chelsea after the show and after being a regular performer in the club’s reserve side last season he was rewarded with an extended deal.
Hailing from Gateshead in the north-east of England, the 19-year-old qualifies for Northern Ireland through his Grandparents.
“I was given a tip-off about Carl by Brendan Rogers, the Chelsea reserve team manager,” said under-21 manager Steve Beaglehole.
“I heard good reports about him and he impressed when I saw him play.
“Anyone who is a regular in Chelsea’s reserve side must be good quality.”
The IFA Premiership duo of Ballymena United goalkeeper Sean O’Neill and Lisburn Distillery’s Johnny Magee have been called in for the first time.
Beaglehole revealed that other local players were considered, but had allowed David Jeffrey to select them for his under-23 squad.
The other uncapped players are Newcastle United’s Shane Ferguson — who will be the youngest player in the squad aged just 17 — Robbie Weir from Sunderland, James McQuilken, who plays his club football in the Czech Republic and Robin Shroot of non-league Harrow Borough.
Northern Ireland under-21 squad: Carson (Sunderland), O’Neill (Ballymena United), Flynn (Blackburn Rovers), Casement (Hamilton Academicals), Cathcart (Plymouth Argyle), Magnay (Chelsea), Lafferty (Celtic), Magee (Lisburn Distillery), Evans (Manchester United), Weir (Sunderland), Chapman (Sheffield United), Ferguson (Newcastle United), O’Kane (Everton), Shroot (Harrow Borough), Little (Rangers), McQuilken (Tescoma Zlin), Lawrie (Port Vale), McQuiod (Bournemouth).