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Lordswood Football Club under-23 player Reece McLellan in England deaf squad

Lordswood under-23 footballer Reece McLellan has travelled to America after being called up to the senior England Deaf Squad for the first time.

McLellan, from Swanley, has been picked for the training tour that will include two games against the USA.

Lordswood FC under-23 player Reece McLellan has been selected for international honours
Lordswood FC under-23 player Reece McLellan has been selected for international honours

“I’m so proud and hope this will be the start of more opportunities,” said the 19-year-old winger, a season ticket holder at Crystal Palace.

McLellan initially attended an England talent day as a youngster and progressed through their regional emerging talent programme, then the national talent set-up and onto the under-21 squad.

He said: “I have now finally got the call-up to attend the first-team’s tour of the USA where I am currently and loving every minute of.”

Lordswood first-team boss Richard Dimmock was among those to congratulate the youngster on his selection and hasn’t ruled out him involvement with the senior side.

McLellan has trained with Dimmock’s SCEFL Premier Division side recently and impressed in a big win over Erith Town in an under-23 match, which the Lordswood manager watched.

Dimmock is keen to bring the youngsters through at Lordswood and winger McLellan is one of them he has a close eye on.

“He hasn’t played for the first-team but he is another one who is pushing,” said the manager.

“He has trained a couple of times and he really impressed me against Erith. He does his stuff, he wears his hearing aids to help him a bit, he is a very good kid and we are proud of what he has achieved.

“He has really done well and he didn’t look out of place in training with us. I wouldn’t have an issue with him playing in the first-team.”

McLellan ended up at Lordswood, where his friend Jack Harding, who is also deaf, is a first-team coach at the club and a role model. He said: “He explained the entire first-team coaching set up are very deaf aware and I was sold!”

Prior to joining Lordswood’s new under-23 side he had played junior football for Petts Wood, Bromley - until having to leave for boarding school at Mary Hare in Newbury, the largest school for deaf children in the UK - and then VCD Athletic before moving to Glebe and playing in the Suburban League last season.

The under-23s are important to Dimmock and will be keen to utilise the squad this coming season if needed, giving the likes of McLellan a chance.

Dimmock said: “I came through the youth system at Leyton Orient, so I know what it is all about, it is what I am about, I like to bring youngsters through instead of going out and forking £300 on a player, I have them in my 23s.

“It will be a good test this year, I will be able to see how they are progressing and if I think they are ready then they will be in and about it. Two or three that we had in the starting line-up last Saturday really impressed me.”

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