Newcastle schoolgirl gets an England call-up

SCHOOLGIRL Jenny Wilkes is swapping the textbooks for the football boots after being selected for the England squad.

Jenny Wilkes

SCHOOLGIRL Jenny Wilkes is swapping the textbooks for the football boots after being selected for the England squad.

Captain of the Newcastle Girls’ Centre for Excellence U14s team, the Year Nine Dame Allan’s pupil has the world at her feet after a call-up to the international squad.

And she has led her team to a result the senior squad would love – a 9-1 thrashing of local rivals Sunderland.

The 14-year-old stepped out at England’s Bisham Abbey training base recently to lock horns with her French counterparts in an international friendly.

But despite being on the wrong end of a 5-0 thumping, the youngster has a bright future in football.

Already this season Jenny has captained her Newcastle team against the likes of Manchester United.

And the teenager is blazing a trail across the North East – as well as the massive win over Sunderland, her team also destroyed Middlesbrough 5-2.

Jenny, who lives in Great Whittington, near Hexham, Northumberland, said she was excited about her prospects in the game.

The Newcastle United fan said: “It’s nice that we are leading the way in the region. It’s extra-special playing for Newcastle because I’ve supported them since I was eight.

“Playing for England is just a completely different experience because you are playing with people who are all of a very good standard – it’s a big privilege.

“People at school quite like it – a lot of them ask me on a Monday how the game has gone at the weekend and if we won.”

In Jenny’s first season with Corbridge United’s U10s team she bagged 31 goals as a striker.

And the following season she topped that by hitting the back of the net on 45 occasions for Hexham Girls U12s team.

But after switching roles to central defence and getting on board with Newcastle United, Jenny is hoping she can carry on the success and represent her country at a major tournament.

She said: “I want to play for England in the World Cup. Before that I want to go on and play for the senior ladies’ team at Newcastle.”

Jenny has a background of talented footballing pedigree. Last year the teenager met her distant relative Lyndsey Johnson, who plays with Everton Ladies and the England team.

But following her England call-up Jenny is now the talk of the town – much to the dissatisfaction of her 18-year-old sisters, twins Elizabeth and Katharine, who are in their final year at Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham.

Jenny’s father, Nick Wilkes, 49, a solicitor, who lives with his wife Judith, 50, a doctor, said: “Her sisters are proud of her, but it’s that usual teenage thing – there’s a lot of friction between them. But I think they are secretly pleased and being Jenny’s sister gets them a lot of mileage street-cred.

“At one point she was the only girl on the team and a lot of the teams didn’t know what to expect when she came on the pitch.

“Nobody forced her to play football, it’s not her dad trying to live out a career in football through his daughter.

“But we’re really proud of what she’s achieving and we always support her.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer