FC Barcelona have joined the race to sign Fleetwood Town teenage defender James Hill after the La Liga giants had scouts present at their League One fixture against Burton Albion.
Barca are in the race to snap-up England u21 International Hill, 19, along with other interested clubs, including Premier league clubs and Championship side Preston North End.
Hill, out of contract at Fleetwood next summer, unexpectedly called-up to the England u21 squad, said: “Obviously when you go away with England it’s a very technical game, there are a lot of talented boys.
“When you’re in League One, it’s physically demanding and a different style of play. A lot of the ball is on the deck with England and with my club it is a different challenge, more of an aerial battle.
“That has helped me because I have the understanding of when to play and when not to play. If it can’t be a pass then it has to go long, over the top. It’s easier for me to adapt to their football, than the other way around.”
Hill, released by Blackpool and Bolton Wanderers as a youth, who has 50 senior appearances at Fleetwood, was called up to England u21s ahead of a European Championship qualifier against Czech Republic this month.
Fleetwood academy prodigy Hill said: “It’s massive for me and a great honour. It’s so amazing, I’m speechless.
“This is every kid’s dream and I’m making it happen. It’s all surreal.
“The other players in the squad you watch on TV, playing for top Premier League clubs, and it seems unreal.
“I did myself justice playing for the under-20s, scoring against the Czech Republic and playing against Paolo Maldini’s son Daniel for Italy U20s, which was a really big test.
“Playing week in, week out has helped me, so I keep striving forward.
“I was really shocked to get the phone call from England u21 manager Lee Carsley, who said I’d be involved and should be proud.
“He said that he had been to watch me and that I was doing well.”
Caption: FC Barcelona scouted Fleetwood Town teenager James Hill.