TWO Leigh College students' football careers have been boosted after being called up to play for England.

BTEC Level 3 Sports Science student Maria Edwards, who is a member of the Manchester United Women Academy, was recently selected for England Women’s U17 squad.

Having returned from a training camp in Florida where she played against USA U17’s, Maria has been rewarded with a call up to the UEFA U17 Championships 2020 – Elite Round qualifying tournament later this month.

The striker is buoyed by their competitive matches against USA in Florida and thinks that the experience will help them progress to the UEFA U17 Championships 2020 in Sweden.

Maria said: "It was a good experience to play against one of the best teams in the world and we competed well.

"I am confident having played against world opposition before that we can do well to progress to Sweden and I’m excited to play as it is always an honour to represent my country.”

The Under 17’s need to top their group which includes Slovakia, Wales and France, with the matches played at St George’s Park – home of the FA’s national football centre in order to reach the summer competition.

Fellow BTEC Level 3 Sport student, Rebecca May, who also plays for United's academy, was selected for England Women’s U19’s team that are playing in the La Manga Tournament in Spain.

Leigh Journal:

Rebecca May

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Both students are hoping and follow in the footsteps of former sport student, Ella Toone, who is now a first team player for Manchester United Women and has represented England Women’s U21’s.

The academy players, all eager to forge a professional football career, have followed in their footsteps to stay in education and benefit from the college’s Centre of Excellence in Sport.

Assistant Principal Paul Heald said: “We are delighted with the success that Maria and Rebecca have had and wish them well in their respective tournaments.

“We understand that playing for Manchester United Women’s Academy will be priority for the girls but our staff are very supportive and will make their transition smooth and ensure that they get the best advice and guidance to supplement their learning and how best to balance it with being away on football duty.”

Maria, who is interested in a career in physio still has the main aim of becoming a professional footballer but credits the college tutors with supporting her studies.

“My tutors provide me with lots of support – if I need help with work I can always contact them who even when I am away on football duty,” added Maria.

Leigh College is based at Leigh Sports Village, where Manchester United Ladies Academy train.