Keeper Eve vows to take his Bermuda chance
Stoke City goalkeeper Dale Eve has vowed to grab his opportunity with both hands after being called up by Bermuda for their World Cup qualifiers against Barbados.
The 16-year-old shot stopper, who is set to become Stoke’s youngest-ever international, has been drafted into Bermuda’s squad as a replacement for Freddy Hall and Tahj Bell.
First choice Hall was allowed to stay in England to prepare for Northampton’s FA Cup tie on Saturday, while is understudy Bell is serving a suspension.
Eve, who already stands at 6ft 4ins, admits he has been slightly fortuitous to receive a call-up so early in his career, but is determined to make the most of his opportunity.
“I knew the call up was going to come at some point but not quite this soon,” said the Dandy Town youth product.
“This was a surprise and a bit lucky to be fair because the other keepers are unavailable. I’m looking forward to it and it should be fun.”
Eve, who took part in last night’s training session at the National Sports Centre, expects to be handed the number one jersey for Friday afternoon’s match and said he is braced for a few butterflies.
“Coming back on the plane for so long thinking about the game ... at first I thought I was going to be on the bench but once they said I might be starting the nerves started jangling,” said Eve, who been a regular on the substitutes bench for Stoke’s reserves this term.
Eve, who signed a two-year development contract with the Potters at the start of the season, as recruited after impressing the club’s scouts while turning out for a Derby County youth team. It’s understood Premier League giants Manchester City were also interested in him.
Stoke’s youth team manager Dave Kevan said it would a great honour for Eve to play for his country.
“It’s great news for Dale and we were more than happy to let him go to play for his country,” he said.
“He was with Derby and going out for trials with one or two other clubs when we signed him in the summer.
“He’s a big boy and doing well, but has been playing with our under-16s this season because we also have Daniel Bachmann, whose a year older and has just been called up by Austria’s under-18s.”
Bermuda take on Barbados on Friday at 3pm, and Monday, November 14 at 8pm, but have no chance of topping a group headed by Guyana and with Trinidad & Tobago in second.
Barbados are rooted to the bottom of the group having lost all four of their qualifiers and are still without a goal to their name, while Bermuda are third with four points, having defeated Trinidad and drawn with Guyana last month.
For tickets visit www.bermudafa.com or www.flytix.bm. Prices are as follows: Grandstand $25; general seating $15; children under-12 (general seating) $10, seniors (general seating $10).
The team’s replica jersey is also now on sale for $65.