A BASINGSTOKE teenager is dreaming of life as a professional footballer after being offered an apprenticeship with Oxford United.

Harry Pearson, who is 16 and lives in Bennet Close, Oakridge, will move to Oxford next week after securing a one-year deal with the League Two outfit.

The winger, who began playing football with Winklebury Wizards before spells with Portsmouth, Southampton and Fulham, was scouted by Oxford while playing for Essex side Tilbury last season.

They offered him a contract as an apprentice, with the option of a two-year extension at the end of his first season.

“It is my dream to be a professional footballer and this is the first step,” Pearson said. “The manager and owner at Oxford really believe in giving young players a chance, so it’s a good club to go to.

“I was out when the call came, so the coach spoke to my dad and he passed on the message. It took a while for it all to sink in at first but after five or 10 minutes it hit home and I just could not believe it.

“I am quite fast and have got some tricks. I am predominantly right footed, but I can use both feet. Cristiano Ronaldo is the player I look up to most and model my game on.

“Obviously, my main aim for the year is to make sure I earn the extension. However, I would like to force my way into the club’s under-21 team.”

Pearson, who has just finished taking his GCSEs at The Vyne Community School, will move to Oxford on Monday, lodging with a family in the city.

“I have not lived away from home before but I am excited about it,” he added. “I can’t wait to get up there and am really looking forward to training every day.

“We used to train every day when I was at Fulham, but that was a while ago and getting back into it will be good.”