Published: 00:00, 05 June 2019
It’s an historic day for Hythe Town as defender Mitchell Dickenson prepares to line up for the England C team.
Dickenson’s performances for the Cannons in Bostik South East earned him a call-up to the non-league select XI, who take on Estonia under-23s today (Wednesday).
The squad is drawn mainly from National League clubs so the inclusion of Dickenson stands out.
Hythe manager Sam Denly said: “It’s brilliant for the club, it’s good for him and it’s thoroughly deserved.
“He’s a really good lad and a good player and the club are really proud to have a player of that quality with us.
“Everyone’s wishing him well and hopefully he can go there and have a good game.
“We’ll see where it goes from there.”
Denly is encouraged that England’s scouts are watching games right down the pyramid.
He said: “There’s a lot of good players at our level, at all the clubs in and around Kent, and it’s good to know they get recognition for that.
“I’ve got some good, talented, young players and I’m sure, if they keep putting in performances like Dicko did all last season and before that, they’ve got an opportunity to get spotted, get a move and get selected in games like this.
“It’s a great advert for the league because it’s a strong league now. If you’re playing well consistently, you know you’re going to get opportunities.”
Denly would love to build his backline around Dickenson but knows the chances of keeping him at Reachfields are slim.
He said: “Every player will have a level but he can go as far as he wants. It’s all about opportunity in football and taking that chance, which I’m sure he’s going to get
“From a selfish point of view, we want to keep him. We’ve got a very strong team next season, we want to be competing and I’d like him to be part of that – but I’m not stupid. He is in the shop window, he’s been playing really well for us, he’s playing in an England C game and I’m sure there will be a lot of interest after.
“It’s about making sure it’s right for him because he’s had a few clubs approach him.
“I’ve said to him ‘let’s see what happens in the England C game first, we haven’t got to rush into a decision’ and if the right club comes in for him, we’re more than happy to help him get that move.
“As a centre-half, he doesn’t really lack anything. He’s big, strong, good in the air, he doesn’t get outpaced very often and he can ping a great ball.
“He started the season a bit quiet to be honest but he finished like a train. He’s up there every game with consistent performances and I haven’t seen many better centre-halves at this level.”