Cobblers goalkeeper Dean Snedker admits his England experience earlier this month was the latest shock in a season of surprises for the youngster.
The 17-year-old Snedker played the final five minutes of the England under-19s win over Denmark at Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium on February 5 after several days training with the squad at the elite St George’s Park facility in Burton.
At one stage, the under-19s were joined by the under-21s and the full international squad, while in his age group Snedker has been rubbing shoulders with players from the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal.
The youth-team graduate, who signed professional forms at the club in August in the shape of a three-year deal, admitted the whole thing came as something of a surprise.
“I was a bit shocked to get called up but it was a great experience,” Snedker told the club’s official web site.
“We trained at St George’s for two days. We did a few sessions down there and went through a few things for the game.
“I’d been working hard before the call-up and I’ve continued to work hard after returning from being away with England.
“It’s given me a massive push to hopefully get into the first team here.
“I’m always prepared on the bench because you never know when you’re going to come on so you have to stay on your toes.”
Snedker has made three appearances in the Cobblers first team this season and it is a statement of how highly he is regarded with the coaching staff that they allowed senior goalkeeper Shane Higgs to leave the club and for Snedker to be the permanent back-up to on-loan Wigan Athletic stopper Lee Nicholls.
The teenager is unlikely to dislodge Nicholls - who has been very good all season - from the starting line-up but is hungry for more senior action after his tastes so far this term.
“It has been great to get a few games in this season, that surprised me as well and hopefully there are more to come,” he said.
“Lee (Nicholls) is a great keeper and I’m learning a lot from him and a lot from Tim (Flowers, goalkeeping coach) as well, they keep me going and keep boosting my performance levels.”