Nicky Blackman this week became the first home-grown Jewish Premier League footballer after signing for Blackburn Rovers.
The 19-year-old striker, whose mother is Jewish, joined from League Two Macclesfield Town. Represented by the SEM Group, he has joined until 2011 for an undisclosed fee.
Blackman impressed while on trial when former boss Paul Ince was in charge and Sam Allardyce decided to go through with the signing.
Although not prepared to speak about religion, Blackman said: “My main goal is to break into the first team as and when the opportunity arises.
“If I work hard and stay focused, you never know what can happen.”
He harbours ambitions of playing international football and said: “I would love to play for England one day.”
Blackman, from Whitefield, Manchester, played at the 2005 Maccabiah Games and has had a meteoric rise. Starting out at King David Junior School in Manchester, he represented Manchester United Under Nine’s and took part in Dennis Irwin’s testimonial at Old Trafford.
Macclesfield boss Keith Alexander said: “Nick has a wonderful opportunity and given he wasn’t guaranteed a first team place this season, it would have been wrong to stand in his way.
“He needed to get his attitude right but no one could question his ability. It will be interesting to see how he develops at Ewood Park. We wish him well.”