It was a double delight for Fylde and Dion Charles this weekend. Fylde’s rising star who is being tracked by a host of Football League clubs put pen to paper on a new two year deal with an option for a further year with the club on Friday and then found out on Saturday he had been selected in the contingency squad for Paul Fairclough’s England ‘C’ squad – a first for both the club and Dion. This could see Dion meeting up with his England team mates at Warwick University after the cup game with Stockport County on Saturday and spending Sunday to Tuesday at the training camp.
19 year old Dion was delighted to be informed of his call up on Saturday saying: “It was totally out of the blue and wasn’t expecting it at all so I’m obviously delighted and it warrants my performances really. It just shows that you never know who’s watching your games.
“Especially being so young as well it’s a big achievement and my family and I are really pleased.”
About his new contract he said: “I was told to go away over the summer to go and build up my strength and fitness which I did and the manager has given me a chance and I think my performances have repaid him.”
Club Chairman David Haythornthwaite said: “We are delighted to get Dion on a long term contract with the club. It’s only just over a year ago that I first saw him in a friendly against Padiham and you could instantly see he had something. His new contract will now allow him to give up his daytime job and concentrate on football full time.
“He’s a good lad and will only improve and can be something really special if he continues at the current rate. I know Chally will keep his feet firmly on the ground and work on improving all aspects of his game now he has more time to spend with him.”
Commenting on both pieces of news, Dave Challinor said: ‘Agreeing a new long term deal with Dion is great news for all concerned and it all the credit goes to him in earning it. Lots of eye brows were raised at the end of last season when we decided not to offer Michael Barnes a new contract but we felt we had to put our faith in Dion and give him an opportunity.
“He’s listened to what we asked him to do and worked really hard through the summer and came back physically in fantastic shape. That commitment was rewarded through pre-season as he was flying and scoring goals which has earned him a regular start in the opening eleven games of the season.
“Again, he’s started really well and got his just deserts. He’s still only young and has lots to learn but he has all the technical and physical requirements to be a very good player. From our perspective, we will continue to work with him to put him in the environment to test his decision making and he’s taking lots of information on board to improve that. We still expect him to be up and down at times and make mistakes that young players will but as long as he continues to learn from these mistakes he’ll continue to improve.”
Regarding his inclusion in the England C contingency squad, Chally added “It’s great that players from our club are being recognised on a national scale. The squad is an under 23 squad and along with Dion, I believe we have other young players who are more than able to be a part of that squad. If the opportunity for Dion comes around, it will be a great honour for him, his family and everyone at the club and I’ve no doubt he’ll do everyone proud.”