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Shelton making big strides

By PAUL ANDRE-WALKER, Staff Reporter from Jamaica-Star


Wolmer's Luton Shelton (centre) tries to shoot the ball past Ascot's goalie Elvis Hart, while another Ascot player, Justin Anderson,puts pressure on Shelton durng their Manning Cup game at Wolmers's October 15,2002 - File

LUTON SHELTON OF Harbour View is a young forward to watch. At 17 he has already shown the ability to be a winner and the requisite maturity to be a star. As a student of Suthermere Preparatory, Luton started playing football as an afterthought. His first inclination was towards the track.

At Suthermere, his pace on the football field led him to 28 goals in the Alberga Cup for Prep schools and he has never looked back. Since his 1998 exploits at Suthermere he has gone on to win the Under-14 and Minor League Under-16 competitions with Harbour View Football Club. In 2001 he received an invitation to play with the national Under-17 team and scored a memorable goal against the United States in the World Cup qualifiers.

High praises

He has high praises for former Wolmer's Manning Cup coach Michael Francis. He also speaks highly of Harbour View coach Ludlow Bernard, who he credits for many of his successes to date. Luton spoke of one of those moments, scoring a hat-trick in the Under-16 Minor League final against Waterhouse. After leading Wolmer's to the Manning Cup final last year, he has decided to take football to a more serious level and play in this season's Wray and Nephew National Premier League.

When asked about the transition to the big stage he said it was not difficult. "The only difference is now I play against opponents that are just as hungry and as aggressive as I am," he said. Luton has shown an affinity for playing at the highest level and has proven himself to be an able strike partner for Fabian Taylor.

Level-headed

The talented teenager was recently invited to train with the national Under-23 squad and said he wants to do well for his country. When asked about the typical distractions that a seventeen year old goes through Luton responded with a level of maturity rarely found in one so young, he said he is level-headed. "I don't go out a lot and I don't run around with many girls," he said. "I have a girlfriend who I have a lot of respect for and I appreciate the way she pushes me to do better all the time. "Right now I have to concentrate on my career and nothing will distract me from that." Luton was invited to try out with English Premier league team Bolton Wanderers recently. He wasn't offered a contract but there is no doubt that if he continues to improve,the sky's the limit for him.