Best mates from Brighton shine together on England debuts at St George’s Park

Two best footballing friends from Brighton became the latest young players from the Russell Martin Academy production line to represent their country after making their debuts for England Colleges at St. George’s Park last week.

Tuesday, 21st December 2021, 12:35 pm
RMA students Dan Cadman (left) and Billie Clark (right)

Billie Clark and Dan Cadman both from Patcham are part of the Russell Martin Academy programme at Varndean College led by former Brentford defender and current Burgess Town Manager Jay Lovett.

Cadman, 18, also plays under Lovett at Burgess Hill, whilst 17 year-old Cadman is enjoying his first senior season at Whitehawk, scoring his first goal for the Hawks against Herne Bay last month.

The teenagers who grew up together and both attended Patcham Infants, Junior and High Schools starred as England drew 3-3 with an Independent England Schools XI at the FA’s national training centre – a venue often graced by the likes of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

The pair will be hoping to feature in a series of home international games against Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland next year.

Clark and Cadman also followed in the footsteps of Russell Martin by making their England debuts. The current Swansea manager, who was born and brought up in Brighton, made seven appearances for England Schoolboys during 2003/4 before enjoying a distinguished playing career with Wycombe, Peterborough, Norwich. He also won 29 caps for Scotland, qualifying to play for the country through his Scottish father.

Clark, who set-up one of England’s three goals in the game, commented:

“It was such a huge honour to represent my country and play at St. George’s Park. The place was incredible – everything from the coaches and staff to the food. The whole experience was amazing.

To play alongside Dan in a game like that was a dream come true really. We’ve been really close since we were little and have both worked hard to get where we are.”

Cadman added: “Putting that England shirt on and sharing the whole experience with Bill was crazy and something I’ll never forget. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to do it together again.

St. George’s Park was something else. I couldn’t believe how good the pitches and all the facilities were – everything was perfect.”

Centre-back Dan joined the RMA programme at Varndean in September after a spell at Portsmouth’s academy whilst left-winger Billie is now in his second year of the full-time football education programme which offers students between the age of 16-19 an FA Level 1 coaching qualification alongside A-Levels as part of the studies.

A number of students have gone into coaching roles and taken up sports scholarships at American Universities which RMA have partnerships with since the programme was set up nearly five years ago.

Alan Sanders, Chief Executive of Russell Martin Foundation, added: “It’s fantastic to see Dan and Billie get international recognition at this stage of their development and we’ve got a really good track record when it comes to our young students and players reaching that level. A lot of it is also down to the quality of the programme at Varndean College and the work done by Jay and the other RMA coaches.

The programme has really grown over the last five years and we’ve seen our students achieve both academically and on the pitch. That’s really important for their futures and a vital part of our approach at the academy.”

For more information on the RMA Football Education programme visit russellmartinfoundation.co.uk