A teenage rugby star has spoken of his pride after being called up for his country for the first time.
And talented Tom Davidson, of Seahouses, believes hard work and commitment have been instrumental in his development.
The 18-year-old was given the nod for the British Colleges Sport (BCS) England U19 squad after impressing at a trial in Telford at the weekend.
He is now in the running to represent the national side which is set to play its first warm-up game against Devon U20s later this month.
Games against the Welsh Charitables and the Irish Exiles will provide a further test of his credentials.
“It feels great,” said Tom, who made the BCS North of England squad at the back end of last year.
“Thankfully, I managed to impress sufficiently at the trial to make the full England squad.”
The teenager, who represents Alnwick Colts at number eight or loose-head prop, says blood, sweat and tears have gone in to make him the player he is today.
“It has been down to a lot of hard work,” said Tom, who is studying at Gateshead College and is part of its Academy of Sport’s Rugby Performance Centre.
“I have started to up my training, putting in a lot of hard work with Gateshead and training with my dad.
“My Gateshead rugby coach, Liam Gumbrill, has played a massive role by pushing me in training and matches to help me improve.
“Studying at the college and being part of the academy has helped me to make this transition to reach national level for the first time.
“The course hasn’t just honed my technical rugby skills; it has also given me general skills such as preparation, planning and leadership which I can now use to good effect on the pitch.”
Tom also trains at The Ocean Club, in Seahouses, and works part time in the village’s Co-op to help fund his rugby training.
His main attribute is strength and he has been chosen as a prop for the national squad.
Tom’s progression in the sport has been a quick one, having started three years ago with Alnwick U15s. He was called up for the county at the same age group.
He hopes the England nod is just another step on his rugby journey, which will eventually lead to playing the game professionally.
He said: “I am seeing how it goes. I would like to see myself get picked up by a professional side. I want to have a career in rugby.”
Coach Gumbrill said: “The Rugby Performance Centre has given Tom the chance to showcase his skills on the national stage.”