Gareth Jenkins flew halfway around the world for a crack at making it as a Premiership footballer - and so far it's paying off.
The 16-year-old was born and raised in Newcastle, Australia, and was playing for sides down under such as Central Coast and Gosford in his formative years as a player.
But when he was invited over for a two-week trial with us when he was 15, it was an offer he couldn't refuse and he made the long trip to England with the sole aim of making sure he stayed here.
Gareth impressed enough in that fortnight to earn himself a place as a schoolboy and last season, he trained full-time as an Under-16, joining our Academy as a first-year trainee last summer.
He's delighted with the way things have worked out and has his sights set on becoming the latest in a line of Australian players in the Premiership -although he appreciates that's still a long way off.
"When I got told about the trial I didn't realise it was going to lead as far as it has done, but obviously I'm pleased with everything so far," says Gareth, a left-footed player who can operate in the holding role in midfield or defence. "I've enjoyed this first season, it's been tough but good."
The Under-17s regular season drew to a close last weekend as we beat Birmingham City 2-1 away, with Gareth playing the full 90 minutes. That was their fourth win in five games and, as Gareth explains, the side are pleased with the way they have finished the campaign.
"In the last few weeks we've come together as a team and that is showing in our results," he says. "The season has been okay, but we started slowly and lost to teams we should have beaten which knocked us back at the time.
"We're a good team but we know we sometimes haven't played as well as we can."
The juniors now enter the end of season play-offs and, although our opponents are not yet confirmed, Gareth thinks we could make progress.
"Whoever we play we know it's going to be a difficult game, but if we can perform the way we have done in recent matches, we should be optimistic."
Coach's comments - Jimmy Neighbour
Gareth has got a very good left foot, strikes a great ball and has good control, but we are not really sure of his best position yet - whether it's midfield or in defence.
There are areas of his game which he needs to keep working on, one of those is his pace and he knows that he must work hard if he wants to progress.
He has played most of the games this season for the Under-17s and has done okay but he needs to come out of himself a little bit more because next year he'll be up with the Under-19s where the football is tougher. But I'm sure he'll be able to handle it.