Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland teen Johnny passes test with flying colours

By Stuart McKinley

This is one teenager who won’t get into trouble for skipping school.

Well, not this week anyway.

Johnny Gorman should have been preparing to enter an exam hall at Repton School in Derbyshire this morning. Instead he has international football on his mind, against a team that will be playing in the World Cup in a fortnight’s time.

Rather than facing difficulties for putting football ahead of his studies, Gorman’s education is geared towards giving him the best possible chance of success in the classroom and on the pitch.

The 17-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers Academy prospect is on a course specially geared for him by both club and school and he studies for A Levels in Art, English Literature and Physical Education.

He showed some fine artistry on the pitch as he made his Northern Ireland debut against Turkey on Wednesday, aged 17 years and 212 days and will now face Chile in the second game of the tour on Sunday.

And there’s no need to worry about boredom kicking in for the teenager in between training sessions and matches. He has plenty to keep him busy.

“I've finished my art exam and I’m missing my PE exam, which was going to be on Friday, and my next exam is English Literature, which is the second day I get back to school,” said Gorman, who was given permission to postpone his PE exam until January.

“So I've got books with me now to be revising, Pride and Prejudice, it's the bane of my life, I can't stand it, and then William Wordsworth's poetry.”

Poetry in motion you could say described Gorman’s silky skills that took him past a Turkish defender early in the second-half to create a chance. Nobody was there to get onto the end of his low cross, but he did enough to show that there’s plenty more caps to come.

Ironically had under-19 manager Steve Beaglehole wanted to take Gorman to Russia for a European qualifying competition then the youngster wouldn’t even have been in Worthington’s squad, with the senior manager also allowing the likes of Manchester United’s Oliver Norwood to stay with the underage side.

While Norwood is aiming for Manchester United’s first-team, Gorman is happy to stick with things as they are before making the breakthrough at Wolves.

“I've got another year at school to do my A2s and I want to carry on what I've been doing this year, half football, half school, just until I get my education sorted out to where I want it to be,” he said.

“Then after that, I want to try to progress with Wolves and see where I can go from there.

“It was an achievement even to be here so to get my first cap that's even better and it was unexpected.

“I'm just happy to have played. Hopefully it's the first of many caps for Northern Ireland so I'll see where it takes me from here.

“When I spoke to Nigel Worthington on the phone he just said ‘enjoy yourself, take as much of the experience of it as you can'.

“Before the game he said to me ‘just play your normal game, put the crosses in and shots and most of all enjoy it', which I have done.

“Everybody has been pretty welcoming. I feel part of the team and experienced players like Stephen Craigan have been speaking to me quite a lot on the pitch about things which has been very helpful, not just for that match, but my football in general in the future.”

Belfast Telegraph

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