Not Your Average Footballer

IT is fair to say that Johnny Gorman, the latest addition to the Pilgrims’ squad, is not your average footballer.

For a start, the Wolverhampton Wanderers’ teenager has been capped nine times by his country but played only a minute of senior league football in England.

Moreover, those caps have come while he has also been studying for A Levels in English Literature, Art and Physical Education at Repton, the 16th century Derbyshire public school.

Johnny, 19, made his English league debut last March as a last-minute substitute in Wolves’ 2-1 Premier League defeat at Norwich.

That was getting on for two years after he became Northern Ireland’s youngest debutant for 30 years, at the age of 17 years and 212 days – younger than George Best had been when he first pulled on the emerald shirt.

Johnny’s aim is to redress that peculiar balance. “I was at a Premiership club, and it’s hard to break through when you’re young” he said.

“I’ve come down to try and get some league games under my belt and make an impact on the squad.”

When he makes that impact, Argyle fans should be in for treat.

“I’m an attacking player, either wing,” said Johnny. “I’m left-footed; I like to get forward as much as I can, set up goals, score goals, create goals. Anything going forward, that’s me.

“I want to impress in training and, hopefully, when the first game comes around, I’ll be in the starting 11 or coming off the bench – as long as I’m involved, I’m happy.”

Manager Nigel Worthington handed the then 17-year-old a starting place in a friendly against Turkey in Connecticut, USA, in May 2010, and has been a regular squad member ever since, making his competitive international debut in the 1-0 Euro 2012 victory in Slovenia in September 2010.

Only six younger players have ever played for Northern Ireland.

The Sheffield-born youngster, who qualifies for Northern Ireland through his mother, has played for his country at every age level from Under-16.

He signed a professional contract with Wolves in December 2010 having previously served seven years in the Manchester United youth set-up.

He was runner-up in the Daily Telegraph/Aviva-sponsored sixth annual School Sport Matters Awards 2010 - Male Student of the Year award behind British schools sprint champion David Bolarinwa.

In 2011, he was named Premier League Scholar of the Year, as well as Wolves’ Scholar of the Year.

To see our EXCLUSIVE interview with Johnny Gorman, click here.