JOHN McAtee is from a family of World Cup winners and rugby players but is pleased to be making his own mark on sport this season with Barnsley.

The 24-year-old striker, who is on loan from Luton Town, has six league goals and three assists in 15 starts and seven substitute appearances, with three cup goals as well.

His father and grandfather, both also called John McAtee, played professional rugby league while his great uncle was World Cup winning footballer Alan Ball.

His younger brother James is also a professional footballer, currently on loan to Sheffield United from Manchester City.

While James was in the City academy for a decade, John started at Shrewsbury Town but was released after loans at non-league clubs such as Halesowen, Telford and Curzon Ashton.

He eventually made his name in the National League with Grimsby Town before signing for Luton.

McAtee told the Chronicle: “Coming from a sporting background, my dad and uncles and granddad had knowhow and they could educate me.

“I tried to play rugby league, my dad watched me play for a team in Salford and dragged me off the pitch.

“He said: ‘I can’t watch you play that, you’re not good.’

“He told me to stick to football so I did.

“Me and my brother have had very different paths.

“I went to the Evo-Stik League and built my way up, but he’s been at the top level in the Championship or Premier League.

“My downfalls and mistakes helped him but he helps me because he’s at a higher level.

“He comes to games and tells me what he thinks.

“We disagree sometimes but it’s nice to have that relationship.

“I try to get to as many games of his as I can.

“It’s nice we’re not too far away.

“We speak a lot.”

McAtee said he would remain on loan at the Reds all season.

“I am enjoying my time here.

“I am just focusing on promotion for Barnsley. After that I will look at other options.”

McAtee dropped into midfield during Tuesday’s win at Oxford after injuries to Adam Phillips and Herbie Kane.

He was joined by Jon Russell and wing-back Corey O’Keeffe.

He said: “Wherever I am put, I will do my best.

“Tuesday was strange. Me, Corey and Jon – it’s not a midfield you would expect. It shows the character we’ve got to do our jobs and stick to the plan.”

Barnsley are now due to host Exeter City, where McAtee netted a late winner in October before the team bus caught fire on the way home.

“They are at the opposite end of the table. They are fighting for something different to us.

“No game is going to be easy but hopefully we get another three points.

“My goal against them sort of kick-started me getting back into the team. I enjoyed that, but the coach journey home wasn’t great because we set on fire. It was a strange day. If we had drawn or lost it would have been different. Everyone was in good spirits and we could have a laugh.”