Former Stoke City Apprentice Tom Thorley has been selected to represent Great Britain at the World University Games in China in August.
The 21-year-old midfielder, a student at the University of Worcester combines his studies with turning out for Blue Square North club Worcester City.
Although no formal announcement has been made by British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), Thorley is expected to be involved in the event in Shenzhen after impressing during trials at the University of Warwick.
His inclusion in the squad will mean that he will miss the opening fortnight of the non-league season, which begins on Saturday, August 13th – as he will jet out to the Far East on August 3rd, and not return until after the event’s conclusion on Monday, August 22nd.
Thorley, who played all but one of Worcester’s games last campaign, will also miss a week of pre-season in mid-July as he joins his GB team-mates for a pre-tournament training week at Swedish club Östersund FK.
Although Thorley is one of the club’s contracted players and he admits that the opportunity to represent Great Britain was one that he could not turn down.
“I am really disappointed to be missing the start of the season for Worcester — I think I will be out of the first four games — but, at the same time, to represent Great Britain is an unbelievable opportunity,” said Thorley.
“Manager Carl Heeley was totally supportive and has backed me all the way. The club have been great and I can’t wait to go.”
City assistant boss Matt Gardiner said: “He’s going to be a big part of things for us but when you get a chance to do this at his age you can’t stand in the way of this kind of opportunity. It’s good for the club to have people playing at international level.”
Great Britain are one of sixteen nations in the competition and in a four-team group with Japan, Canada and Ghana.
The top two from each of the four groups will progress to the knock-out stages.