Jamie has Highbury hopes

SOCCER: Jamie Waite's football dream could be on the verge of coming true.The 16-year-old from Coddenham is already a senior international, having played for Thailand last season.

By Mel Henderson

SOCCER

JAMIE Waite's football dream could be on the verge of coming true.

The 16-year-old from Coddenham is already a senior international, having played for Thailand last season.


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But the Debenham High School pupil's number one wish is to be offered a trainee place in the Premiership.

And his prayers could be answered as a quartet of clubs, led by double winners Arsenal, are all on his trail.

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Jamie hopes to impress during a trial with the London giants and earn himself a place at the Gunners' academy.

Aston Villa, Chelsea and Newcastle have also expressed an interest in the young goalkeeper, who was recently offered a trainee place at Sheffield United.

He said: "I played for United in a 3-3 draw against Coventry and they offered me a contract straight away – but I would love to go straight into the Premiership."

Jamie has signed up with an agent, who has already persuaded the Thailand Football Association to sponsor his first two years in the big-time.

He explained: "They will pay my wages for the next couple of seasons if I receive an offer to join a Premiership club."

Jamie recently took part in a triangular tournament with the Thai Under-21 side that also involved Manchester City and Oldham.

It was played at Witton Albion's ground and attracted the attention of the Sky Sports cameras.

He said: "Oldham put out their first team and we beat them 3-1, but we lost 2-1 to City, who had Kevin Keegan and Stuart Pearce looking after them.

"I went on at half-time against City when we were leading, but we eventually lost 2-1. I still enjoyed the experience, though."

The Premiership club's two goals were scored by £13million French striker Nicolas Anelka, a second-half substitute.

Jamie, whose mother is Thai, laughed: "I recognised Anelka straight away up there but when I saw a City player warming up I was too busy concentrating on the game.

"Then I heard the announcer say Anelka was coming on and I was thinking we should organise an 11-man defence.

"His first goal was a tap-in and for the second he turned a defender to get his shot in. I didn't really have much chance with either of them."

Jamie's next international assignment is in January when the Thai senior squad assemble for a FIFA tournament.

Boss Peter Withe, the former Aston Villa and England striker, would prefer Jamie to be resident in Thailand when he reaches the age of 17 in six months' time.

But he said: "I've lived in England all my life and I don't see that changing."

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