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Charlie gets the England call-up
16 year old Charlie Beckett has been selected by the RFU for this year's England Under 16s squad. The lofty 6ft 5in Year 11 pupil will join a 22-strong squad to prepare for the internationals against Italy Under 17s and Wales Under 16s in April.
Charlie, who has been playing the game since the age of 5, comes from a rugby family with his father and coach, Mark Beckett, having played for the North of England Seniors and his Uncle, Andrew Taylor, having played for England in the Under 18s team.
This is the pinnacle of an exciting season for Charlie who has also just been awarded a place to train with the prestigious Leicester Tigers Academy in 2013. This follows in the footsteps of former Merchants' pupil and ex England International Ben Kay. The Academy will allow Charlie to focus on developing his professional rugby career whilst maintaining his academic ambition which is to eventually gain a degree in History. He said "I am both nervous and excited about the move to Leicester next year however my focus at the moment, alongside the training for England, is to study for my GCSEs."
This is a dream come true for Charlie who set his sights on playing for the Under 16s almost 3 years ago. The 16 stone second or back row player is currently part of Merchant Taylors' first team and has also played for Waterloo as well as Lancashire for whom he was the top scorer last year. At Waterloo he used to play 2 years above his age.
In the last year he has worked tirelessly on his fitness regime training every day morning and night. Charlie said, "Last year I decided to really focus on my fitness and have worked a lot on my acceleration and speed. I would say my best skill is ball carrying. My favourite player is All Blacks star Jerome Kaino, he is a very physical player and I'd like to play like him."
Even at this tender age Charlie is fully aware of how important the encouragement of his family has been to his success, he said "I am really appreciative of how supportive all my family have been through it all, especially mum and dad. I could not have done it without them."