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Coventry City signs Herne Bay teenager Sam McCallum

A teenage football star is living the dream after signing for former Premier League club Coventry City.

Ex-Canterbury schoolboy Sam McCallum, 17, was snapped up on a three-year-deal before the transfer deadline and has already upped sticks to the Midlands.

He impressed scouts at the League One club with his performances for Herne Bay FC and England Schoolboys.

Sam McCallum signed for Coventry last week (3586526)
Sam McCallum signed for Coventry last week (3586526)

His talents also shone at the V9 Academy, which was set up by England striker Jamie Vardy to champion non-league talent.

He and his family are now pinching themselves as he adjusts to life as a professional footballer.

“I got calls from a few clubs, but Coventry was the one that caught my eye,” said Sam, who has just finished the first year of his A-levels at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys.

“Coventry has a good set-up because they look out for you. The best thing, though, is we train next to the first team and we have the gaffer watching us in the sessions.”

The move has meant Sam is now living in Coventry in accommodation provided by the club, 15 minutes from its training ground.

It is a far cry from his life in Herne Bay, where he grew up and attended Herne Bay Junior School.

He has also had to adjust to new rules - including a ban on mobile phones.

“Being 17, my phone’s my life,” he said.

“But I think it’s a good idea because it stops us from getting distracted. Typical club fines start coming into it if we use them.

“It’s been difficult, very difficult, moving away from home. It’s keeping me going, though, because I’m making everyone proud.”

Sam will be joining Coventry’s under-23s set-up, but is also eligible for its under-18s team.

Despite playing in midfield for Herne Bay, he will be lining up at left back for the Midlands club.

Sam in action for Herne Bay FC
Sam in action for Herne Bay FC

If he breaks into the first team, he could play in front of almost 30,000 fans at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

“At Coventry I’ve had to make quite a bit of an adjustment,” he said.

“I’m training every day, pre-season’s harder, the sessions are harder, the matches are harder and of a better standard. I’ve been pushed to my limits and past them.

“I’m driven to get fitter and better. Hopefully I can secure my place in the under-23s squad for this season and then hopefully I’ll move up and up over the next few years.

“When you’re in that squad it means you could be called up if there are any injuries.”

Despite his impressive performances for Herne Bay FC, the club has not received a transfer fee for Sam as he had not signed a contract with the club.

While now a full-time footballer, he will still complete his A-levels in Coventry.

Sam’s father, Jon Warden, says he realised his son had a special talent when he was aged just four.

“Sam hit a half-volley right into my hands,” he said.

“I thought then that was very unusual. He struck it so well and his timing was spot on.

“We’re pinching ourselves because he’s always said he’s wanted to be a footballer and lo and behold he is one now. He’s realised that dream.”

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