A TEENAGER from Durham has taken a big step towards his dream career as a professional footballer after signing for a Premier League club.

Harry Moss, from Newton Hall, has been given a two-year scholarship with Burnley FC.

The 16-year-old will join The Clarets’ Under 18s team in July and, if things go well, could progress to the Under 23s and first team – a set-up which nurtured the talent of topflight and England internationals Nick Pope and Tom Heaton.

Goalkeeper Harry, who played for Spennymoor Town Youth FC, landed the scholarship after coaches at Park View Academy of Sport, in Chester-le-Street, helped him get a trial.

Dad Andrew Moss said: “He’s always played and loved football, going to college and combining studies with football enabled him to progress significantly.

“Despite lockdown he worked so hard, took up cycling, running and joined Zoom fitness sessions because he didn’t lose what he’d built up and he's been determined to train well and play games as much as possible.

“The academy team said they were really impressed with him, had contacts with Burnley and they were looking for an Under 18 goalkeeper.”

The teenager travelled to Burnley, took part in a series of trials – which first team are understood to have observed – and was offered a scholarship so he keep continue to study whilst part of the club and living with a host family in Lancashire.

Mr Moss said: “We were flabbergasted, we went for a trial and thought they’d just keep an eye on him in future but came away with this.

“It is a massive step, his mam Helen and I and his older sister Abigail, who is also a keen footballer, are overjoyed for him.

“It is a massive first step, he’s on the bottom rung of the ladder, working towards a dream so many schoolboys and girls have of playing pro football.

"The potential is there and he’s excited but if it doesn’t work out, for whatever reason, he’ll have had a fantastic experience.”

Jamie Sands, Harry’s former PE teacher from Framwellgate School and Under 16s Durham County coach, said: “Harry is a natural goalkeeper, his reading of the game has always been a strength particularly for his age – seeing how a game develops, watching other players, knowing where he needs to be and where he wants defenders.

“His family is very supportive and he is a very hardworking lad, he’ll train every night and take every opportunity to improve and learn.

“But mostly, he’s a nice lad. We couldn’t be happier for him at school – it is good to see those with talent, that work hard and are nice people get chances like this.

"We'll be watching his progress and cannot wait for the day he pulls on a strip and gets a game in the Premier League.”

Andy Lowe, Spennymoor’s academy manager, said: “Harry is a very talented, hardworking, committed goalkeeper and more importantly a well-rounded young man with huge potential.

“We are absolutely delighted for Harry and his parents that he has been given this opportunity with Burnley Football Club. It is not every day you get the chance to sign for a Premier League club and Harry has grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

“Harry has played an integral part in our u16, u17 and u18 teams during the past three seasons and has trained regularly with our 1st Team - Spennymoor Town FC. Most notably, Harry impressed during our FA Youth Cup campaign and attracted a lot of attention from football league and Premier league clubs.

“As a club we are proud that we have played a small part in Harry’s success. However, it is important to recognise that when a young player signs for a professional club on academy forms or professional forms, there are many people who have been part of that journey, firstly the player themselves, parents, family, teachers, and many coaches on the journey along the way.

“It is no surprise we are seeing so many professional football club scouts at our weekly training sessions and games, due to the talent we have in our club. At Spennymoor Town Youth FC we pride ourselves on our football for all philosophy, within that football for all are players like Harry and so many other players being recognised and given the ‘opportunity’ to sign for professional club academies, which is a very proud moment for everyone involved at the club.

“Well done Harry and good luck from us all at Spennymoor Town Youth FC.”