ENGLAND Schoolboys star Ben Mooney admits ‘it is time to get back to reality’ after he starred in his country’s under 18s Centenary Shield victory.
The Aylesbury Grammar School pupil earned his fourth cap in the 2-1 victory over the Republic of Ireland and rounded off an impressive display with the assist for Michael Sweet’s opening goal.
Not that the modest 17-year-old would admit his part in the goal.
“Well I wouldn’t say it was an assist, I just kind of flicked it through to him and he’s put it away.”
His final game in the Three Lions shirt rounded off a whirlwind three months for the teenager.
Mooney, who was joined in the squad by Dr Challoner Grammar School students Jack Pounce and Tom Foughy, did not originally make the cut for the squad in December.
Despite the disappointment, Mooney continued to keep fit after being selected to play for Barnet’s Under 19 academy and when the crucial call came he admitted he was not quite prepared for it.
“Er yeah, I did kind of miss the call. I had been out the night out before and when I woke up there was a voicemail. It wasn’t a bad cure for my head,” laughed Mooney.
Despite being called up as first reserve, Mooney still faced a battle to get into a congested midfield and after being the only outfield player not to get some minutes in the first Shield match against Wales, Mooney admitted he was worried he would not get a chance.
However, after impressing in the 2-0 friendly defeat against Poland, the PE student forced his way into the side for the remaining three fixtures of the Shield, notching the final goal in a 4-0 win over Northern Ireland.
“It was probably the most simple goal I have ever scored.
“Sweety’s (Michael Sweet) shot came off the bar and I was there to head it in from two yards. But hey they all count.
“It was an amazing feeling. There’s nothing much better than scoring for your country.”
Mooney, confessed the step up from captaining Chesham United to walking out at Newcastle’s St James Park in front of Sky Sports cameras and 3,000 people was nerve-racking.
“You do worry about what the level is going to be like.
“But you just have to be confident in yourself and you know you’re good enough because that’s why you’re there.”
Mooney’s new-found fame has not gone unnoticed, with his friends quick to bring him back down to earth.
“They have been taking the mick out of me, saying like ‘oh where you off to now then?’
“But it’s been nice and a few of them came down to the Ireland match. It’s funny, some of the younger kids have been telling me they saw me on the TV too.”