Truro City’s young goalkeeper Tom McHale has had an impressive season rewarded with an international call-up to the England C squad, the Three Lions’ non-league side.
The 22 year-old has been part of a record-breaking season in which the White Tigers have broken their record points tally in the current division, reached the first round of the FA Cup and reached the National League South play-offs.
“It’s been a crazy week – it’s just been manic. I was actually training at the time when I got the call-up, they didn’t actually say on the answerphone messages what it was so I had to ring them back,” McHale told TruthFal.
“I think the first emotion was shock really – I didn’t really expect to be called up, I’d not even had it cross my mind. It’s one of those things that you want on your CV – it’s the pinnacle of non-league football as I see it and I’m very proud.”
McHale’s route to being first-choice goalkeeper at Truro has been far from conventional, plying his trade at numerous clubs while being a part of Plymouth Argyle Community Trust’s development set-up.
Having begun his career at local club Torpoint, he moved on to South West Penninsula League side Bodmin Town, dropping down to Edgcumbe FC before making the move across to Treyew Road.
“We were development players, we played under the badge but we were never Plymouth Argyle players. I wouldn’t have had that chance to train on a Monday and a Friday or the chance to play games on a Wednesday and a Saturday so I’ve got a lot to thank them for. It’s a brilliant course – they don’t just cover obviously post-16 to 18, they cover disability, girls’ football, in-school teaching, they do coaching, they do Saturday sessions,” said McHale.
“This year, I’ve stepped in at Truro and I’d like to think I’ve done a good job. Obviously, there’s a lot that you can learn – I’m probably my biggest critic. I’m so pleased that time can be recognised and all the rewards you get to see.
“We’ve been a record-breaking side and I’m just so pleased that I can be a part of that. Obviously I don’t know what lies ahead, but obviously we’ve got a job to do first in terms of promotion and things like that,” said McHale.
Cornish footballers have traditionally struggled to make the breakthrough into professional football, but McHale wants to follow in the footsteps of Birmingham City’s Isaac Vassell and Southampton FC’s Jack Stephens.
“I know Jack was at Plymouth Argyle because obviously I went to Torpoint School aswell. He’s only a couple of years above me and I know his family and things like that but he’s done absolutely brilliant to go through the ranks at Argyle then go and play at Southampton.
“Now he’s one of their top centre-halves so I think would be good for Cornwall to have a lot more people like that and people like Vassell.
“The Stadium for Cornwall will be absolutely huge – it’s going to increase training time for kids and hopefully it can put Cornwall back on the map in terms of sport and people coming through the ranks,” added McHale.