Bartlett's son targets EPL football
Posted: 30 August 2017 Time: 09:56
Striker Tyrique Bartlett hopes to one day possess the aerial threat of his father, Bafana Bafana legend Shaun Bartlett.
Tyrique, who is with the Newcastle United Academy, received his maiden Amajita call-up for a three-nation tournament with England and Brazil.
The South Africa U-20 side will face the Brazilians at Saint George's Park in Tatenhill, Burton Upon Trent tonight before tackling the hosts on Monday at Harrison Park Stadium in Leek Town, Macclesfield. Both games start at 19h00.
"Yes, I watched him a lot when I was very young, but I don’t remember much," Tyrique told SAFA Media when asked if he watched his dad, who is the current coach of University of Pretoria, during his playing career.
"He is known as a player that was mobile and he scored a lot of headers in his time. I am the kind of player that holds up the ball a lot and bring other people into play, and I am working on my heading and hopefully one day I will get close to his heading ability – I think I am not too far from him."
He added: "From an early age, my dad never put pressure on me. He told me to go out there and make a name for myself. The pressure mostly came from myself because I saw what he did in his playing days, so I was hard on myself than he was on me."
Meanwhile, Tyrique believes Helman Mkhalele's side can impress in England.
"First of all, just being called up to the national team is so important to me knowing that all the people I am representing back home in South Africa – all the fans, my family, friends – and knowing how big it is to them, just gives me the extra hunger that I need to go on regardless of who we play. Even though we know that Brazil and England are big opponents, we just are going to give it our all and we will do our best. It’s going to be tough matches but I am confident we can do well."
Tyrique explained how his move to the Magpies came about in December last year.
"I was on trial at Ajax Cape Town before I moved to amaTuks, and there was a scout who saw me playing. He also saw me again at the Bayhill Tournament in Cape Town and he asked me a few questions like what are your ambitions, where do you see yourself – and I told him that I saw myself in Europe just doing the best I can. He was happy with that, and last year in July I had a trial at Newcastle for a week. I actually took a train from London and on the day I scored two goals, then I trained the rest of the week with the U-18 and U-23 squads. They were just impressed with what they saw."
He hopes to ply his trade in the Premier League like his father did for Charlton Athletic.
"All I can say is I will not put any limits for myself because the sky is the limit and there’s nothing I can’t accomplish right now if I just stay focused, work hard and show my dedication and keep on learning from the people around me, whether it’s small things or big things – we can always learn from other people. The main goal for me is to play in the English Premier League."
For more on Tyrique's ambitions and following in the footsteps of his famous father, get the latest KICK OFF Magazine, on sale now! Here's what else you can find in Issue 485. Prefer reading KICK OFF Magazine on screen? DOWNLOAD a digital copy of the magazine here!