Clarets’ teenager Cameron Howieson has capped an outstanding season by being called up by New Zealand for their up-coming tour of the United States and a qualifying round for the 2014 World Cup.
Howieson, who played in last summer’s Under-17 World Cup for the All Whites, has been included in his country’s senior squad for the first time after making his first-team debut for Burnley at the end of last season.
“It came as a bit of surprise. I didn’t think it would happen so quickly,” said the 17-year-old.
“I am very excited about it. It was always my childhood dream to play for the All Whites so this is a big achievement.
“I thought I might be involved in the Under-20 World Cup but to be in the senior squad is a bit of a surprise but the coach wants me there.
“I have been training with the first team and been involved for the past couple of months and the coach thinks Championship players can be involved in the senior squad. Hopefully I am capable of fitting in.”
Howieson, who recently signed a two-year professional contract at Turf Moor, made two substitute appearances in the Championship towards the end of last season after helping the Clarets’ Youth Team reach the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup.
He has now been included in the New Zealand squad for friendlies against El Salvador in Houston on 23 May and Honduras in Dallas on 26 May.
The All Whites will then play Oceania Round Two qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup in the Solomon Islands from 2-10 June with group fixtures against Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the host country.
And if Howieson impresses, the Clarets youngster, who is joined in a 22-man squad by 18-year-old Blackburn Rovers midfielder Tim Payne, could put himself in the frame for a place in the New Zealand squad for this summer’s London Olympics.
“Tim and Cameron have both done well to get themselves to professional clubs and Cameron has made his senior debut recently, which just continues the promise both players have shown at age group level,” said New Zealand coach Ricki Herbert.
“We want to get them in and give them a taste of the environment to see if they can make the step up to international football for the All Whites and the Olympic team.”
Blenheim-born Howieson joined the Clarets last summer from the Asia Pacific Football Academy and was given a professional deal half-way through his initial two-year Scholarship contract at Burnley.
He is joined in the New Zealand squad - which was unbeaten in the group stage of the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa - by English based players Ryan Nelsen (Tottenham), Winston Reid (West Ham), Tommy Smith (Ipswich) and Greg Wood (WBA).