Talented teenage Cumbrian goalkeeper Thomas Atkinson admits he was “shocked” to have been selected to represent England’s Under-23s amputee football team at a tournament next month.

Atkinson, 15, will be a part of the England squad which will face Poland and Turkey at Reaseheath College in Cheshire in a competition which will be held on the weekend of July 20 and July 21.

A year 10 student at Richard Rose Morton Academy in Carlisle, Atkinson, who was born without his left hand and has also had to have his left leg amputated, was delighted to get the call-up.

He said: "It was great.

"I was shocked because there were loads of other goalkeepers who could have got the position I was going for but, in the end, I managed to get it and I’m really chuffed to have been picked."

When asked what his reaction had been upon hearing the news, he replied: “I almost cried.

“I was walking back to the car with my kitbag and I was shocked because I wasn’t expecting a place with the amount of competition there was.”

Unsurprisingly, with Atkinson able to play at this level for another seven years yet, he says all his team-mates are older than him.

"I’m the youngest in the Under-23s," he confirmed.

"The average age is probably around 19 or 20.

"There are some who are pushing on the boundary and are nearly 23, and then I help to bring the average age down a bit."

Gary Marheineke currently holds the number one spot for England’s senior amputee side, which is led by Owen Coyle junior, whose dad Owen senior has managed the likes of Blackburn, Wigan, Bolton and Burney.

And Atkinson says Marheineke, as well as one-time Carlisle United loan man Jordan Pickford, now at Everton, are two shot-stoppers he looks up to.

“Pickford is amazing. But the senior [amputee team] goalie is called Gaz Marheineke and he is really good," he said.

"He has been to World Cups and is the number one, so that’s the position I want to get to."

This weekend, Atkinson will take part in a training camp, ahead of the competition.

"That’s going to be [a chance to] go through everything, to make sure that we are ready for the games," he explained.