FOOTBALL: Defender James aims for dream appearance at Wembley

Herald Series: Milton full back Johnny James impressed Graeme Le Saux Milton full back Johnny James impressed Graeme Le Saux

Johnny James had two footballing ambitions as a youngster – to join a professional club and play at Wembley.

Now the 25-year-old from Wantage has the chance to fulfil both after winning through the first stage of the Budweiser Open Trials.

James, who plays at right back for Milton United in the Uhlsport Hellenic League, thought he would have give it a go in this competition which is open only to footballers aged 25 and over.

The idea of the trials is to give a second chance for those players, who may have slipped through the net James, attended a trial at Eastleigh, Hampshire, where former Chelsea left back Graeme Le Saux was among the coaches, who had to reduce a field of 70 to defenders to just six.

James was one the lucky six who now go forward to the final stages of the competition, to be held at the FA training centre St George’s Park, Burton, next month.

“I understand there will be 126 players there going for 36 places to play in a special game at Wembley before one of the FA Cup semi-finals in April,” said James.

Watching this match will be a number of top talent scouts, who if they like what they see, can recommend players to Football League clubs – and beyond!

“It would be a dream come true to play at Wembley,” said James, who harboured ambitions to become a pro footballer.

“I once attended the Oxford & Cherwell Football Academy, where I was coached by Mickey Lewis (the current Oxford United caretaker manager), but I didn’t make the grade.”

The highest level James has performed at came last season when he represented Abingdon Town in the Hellenic Premier Division.

He has since joined Milton, who are now second in Division 1 East.

“It’s been a very enjoyable season,” he added.

For James, the season could get even better next month.

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