IT WAS a proud day for one family this week when a Borehamwood teenager made his international football debut, writes Dominic Gover.
Lee Hodson, who lives with his mum and dad in the area, represented Northern Ireland against Morocco at Windsor Park.
The 19-year-old, pictured, was picked by boss Nigel Worthington, who was impressed by his displays for Watford in the Championship.
Dad Stephen told Borehamwood Times Sport: “It’s every dad’s ambition, so it was quite a moment to see him come out at Windsor Park in front of 16,000 people.”
His son turned in a solid performance charged with the big task of containing Marouane Chamakh, a tricky forward who plays for Arsenal.
“He played very well,” said Steve. “He had to mark Chamakh and did a very good job.
“It was horrendous conditions and the player is a handful, he’s very quick.
“But Lee sussed out that he had to get tight to him, and he only got beaten once.”
The friendly match ended 1-1 in Belfast.
The occasion was enough to bring a tear to the eye of Lee’s grandmother, who emigrated from there to live in England.
Her son admitted it would be tough for Lee to break into the England team, but hope does spring eternal.
“I really do not mind, as you have to be realistic. There is a hell of a lot of competition, but I think he still is eligible for England.”
There were also congratulations for Lee from Watford boss Malky Mackay.
“I’m so pleased for him because he’s such a hard-working individual,” said Mackay.
“It’s great for Lee that he’s worked his way up through the Northern Ireland ranks: 17s, 19s, 21s and now the full side.
“I bet he enjoyed the conditions in Belfast,” he quipped. “Not quite like playing Morocco at their place.”
Hodson has played 45 times for Watford since his debut in May 2009.
He began playing football at Borehamwood 2000, a youth programme organised by the Conference South club at Meadow Park.