By Liam O’Brien
We caught up with Matty Dopson, who is currently playing for England Under 18s Schoolboys in the Centenary Shield.
Dopson’s call-up to the the Schoolboys squad in January, was a reward for a fantastic season, that saw him lead Spartans Under-18s to a historic run to the First Round Proper of the FA Youth Cup.
The full-back has played a key role for England so far, starting both of their Centenary Shield fixtures against Northern Ireland and Scotland. When asked about the experience, Dopson said “It’s a privilege, being offered this opportunity at a good standard in front of a lot of people representing my country. It’s a real honour. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it so far.”
Spartans’ Youth Cup run saw them beat Darlington, Billingham Town, Gateshead and AFC Fylde, before being defeated against Salford City. Dopson has also turned out for Spartans Under-19s in the National Youth Alliance, and while the young Spartans struggled initially, they’ve turned a corner in recent weeks, including a 1-0 win against full-time outfit Notts County last Wednesday.
Reflecting on the campaign he said “This season has been really quite good. The FA Youth Cup has probably been one of my best achievements, getting to the first round proper against Salford. Obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted but still good getting there. The league ain’t been too great, it’s been a bit of a tough run for us. Trying to field two teams with the college but all around it’s been a good season.”
Dopson is currently studying at Tyne Met College, which Blyth Spartans having a partnership with that allows students to study while being a part of the Spartans’ youth setup. Dopson said of his experience with Tyne Met College “It’s been really good. I’m coming up to the end of my second year now and I’m enjoying every moment really. Obviously just playing football is what I enjoy doing, and doing my course as well Hopefully I carry on and do well in my third year as well.”
We asked Dopson if he had set himself some targets for the next few seasons to which he replied “Yeah, probably to try improve even more. Maybe become more fitter, more stronger maybe and hopefully make an appearance for Blyth Spartans. That would be a great achievement for me.”
You’ll be able to watch the England Under 18s Schoolboys in action against Republic of Ireland on the BBC Sport Website and App this Friday at 7pm.