Belfast Telegraph

Cameron's new goal is to make senior debut

By Stuart McKinley

The accent is deceiving, but the surname provides a massive clue.

And now, after fulfiling the dream of every young footballer in England, Cameron McGeehan is setting his sights on a full international debut.

The London-born teenager isn't thinking of Wembley though, instead it's wearing the green of Northern Ireland at Windsor Park that is his ultimate ambition.

McGeehan recently lifted the FA Youth Cup as captain of Norwich City's Academy team and now he wants to follow Steven Davis, Philip Mulryne, Keith Gillespie and Pat Rice who went from winning the tournament as kids to becoming regulars for Northern Ireland.

"Having been born in England I know that's always there for me, but at the minute I want to make progress with Northern Ireland and I love pulling on the shirt," said McGeehan, who qualifies via his Belfast-born Grandmother.

"I have played in the under-16s and under-17s. I missed out on the under-19s this season because of injury and I hope now I can push on and get into the under-21 squad.

"I've watched Northern Ireland matches on television with my dad. It always seems like there is a great atmosphere at Windsor Park and I would love to play there in front of those fans.

"Hopefully I can keep progressing at Norwich and it will happen sooner rather than later."

Having just been handed a two-year professional contract by the Canaries, McGeehan is on the right track to achieving all his goals and he is on Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill's radar too.

He was, however, earmarked as a blossoming talent from a very young age, with Chelsea paying £80,000 for him when he was just 10-years-old.

"I'd played under-9 and under-10 football for Fulham. Then I went to Chelsea and there had to be a compensation fee paid for me," he said.

"I was told that it was £80,000. I was young and I didn't really take it in, but it was pretty surreal going for a lot of money.

"I knew I was going to one of the best clubs in Europe and my education there was really good.

"It was exciting because Chelsea were just starting to dominate English football at the time. I got introduced to Jose Mourinho and the first-team players and they were all so nice to me.

"Beating them to win the Youth Cup was enjoyable, especially as we did it at Stamford Bridge.

McGeehan played a captain's part in Norwich's success too. He scored the injury time penalty that gave the Canaries a 1-0 first leg victory over Chelsea and when the Blues levelled the tie he stepped up again to net from the spot as the Carrow Road youngsters completed a 4-2 aggregate victory.

"I wasn't nervous, I just focused and I knew that if I hit the ball well I would score, because I'd already done it in the first leg," said McGeehan of his big moment at Stamford Bridge.

"I had the goalkeeper psyched out. He didn't know where to stand or anything and I felt really confident that I would score.

"When you start your scholarship you dream of winning the Youth Cup, but it doesn't happen for too many players.

"It's hard to tell how close any of us might be to the first-team, but I know the manager (Chris Hughton) was keen to give young players a chance when he was at Birmingham City."

Belfast Telegraph


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