Zak Dearnley from Ingbirchworth, who began his career at Penistone Church FC, is hoping his first inclusion in Manchester United's first team squad is the start of a long Old Trafford career.
The 18-year-old was in Church's youth system from the age of six to eight before being snapped up by the Premier League giants, who included him in their matchday squad for Sunday's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on the last day of the Premier League season. He was an unused substitute but his father Ian Dearnley says it was still a fantastic occasion for the whole family.
He said: "It was an amazing day and an amazing achievement for Zak. It was the culmination of all the work he has put in over the last 12 years. I was extremely proud and nervous. There was only a very slight disappointment that he didn't get on the pitch, because to be in the squad is a huge achievement."
The call-up was 'totally out of the blue' for the former Thurlstone Primary and Penistone Grammar School pupil because Zak, who can play on either wing or up front, has missed ten months of this season with a hamstring injury. Ian said: "He has played six or seven games for the under 18s and two halves for the under 23s. Jose Mourinho saw him playing for the under 23s and must have liked what he saw.
"To be in the squad bodes really well for the future and his dream is to break into the Manchester United team. He has played for England under 18s as well but he has put that on hold for now to focus on his career at Manchester United."
Penistone's secretary Dave Hampshire said Dearnley's inclusion in the Manchester United squad is another boost for the club who last week won the NCEL League Cup at Sheffield United's Bramall Lane to add to their promotion to the highest level in their history. He said: "It's a great achievement for us and for Zak. He's a smashing lad who has worked hard to get where is. I am sure he will keep his feet on the ground and make the most of this opportunity.
"There are a few professionals who were in our youth set-up. John Stones is probably the most famous, being an England international and a Premier League player, but there's Marc Roberts at Barnsley, Louis Reed at Sheffield United and George Smith who played for Barnsley and has just moved from Gateshead to Northampton."