England’s footballers may have failed in their attempts to score against Scotland this morning in Euro 2020 but, at almost the same time, one Englishman was making a name for himself in South American football.
Ben Brereton was born in Stoke-on-Trent but finds himself playing for Chile in the Copa America — the continental championship for South America.
And in his first start for the Chileans, Brereton proved the hero this morning with a goal against Bolivia.
His low, powerful shot broke the deadlock in the 10th minute, and Chile were able to hold Bolivia at bay for the remainder to secure a 1-0 win.
“One start. One goal. Already a Chilean hero!” declared the Copa America Twitter account.
Brereton, who plays his club football for Blackburn Rovers in the English Championship, came off the bench for his debut in Chile’s first match of the tournament against Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
How and why is he playing for Chile?
Brereton has represented England at under-age level, winning the U-19 Euros as in 2017, and top scoring in the tournament with three goals.
But he has a Chilean mother and grandfather and was therefore eligible to play for the South Americans.
His selection for the Chilean squad at the age of 22 saw him return to the country for the first time since he visited as a baby.
“It’s great and it’s a real privilege, particularly for my mum’s side of the family,” he said after joining the squad.
“I’ve known for quite a while that Chile were looking at me, but I just kept my head down and wanted to do well for Blackburn Rovers.
“Then just recently they’ve been in touch with me and my family, to let us know, and we’ve made the decision that we want to do it and give it my best shot. It’s a real honour, Chile are a great team to be a part of and my mum and my granddad, and all the family, are very proud.
“It’s really special for them. They were all in tears when they found out. It’s really exciting and they’re really proud of me and I can’t wait to play.
Brereton told the Stoke Sentinel that his Spanish needs some work, saying he would have to sing Feliz Navidad (Merry Christmas) as his induction song to the squad as was the only thing he knew in the language.