TOWN AT WEMBLEY: Wembley trip the stuff of dreams for Hylton

Jermaine Hylton is in his first year as a professional footballer at Swindon Town (PIC: Naomi Youd)

It is fair to say that most of us would have spent our childhood kicking a ball around a garden whilst dreaming of scoring the winning goal for our favourite club or country at Wembley. 

For the majority of us that will never be anything more than a pipe dream.

But, for Jermaine Hylton, those childhood fantasies are set to become a reality this weekend.

Just a mere five months after leaving behind working life and non-league football to embark on a professional career with Swindon Town, Hylton has a very real chance of starting at the home of English football this Sunday.

It is a remarkable tale and the sort of one you would expect to see in a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ comic strip, and it’s made even more incredible by the fact that Hylton’s meteoric rise this season is very similar to the one of a certain Charlie Austin in the 2009/10 campaign.

After hitting 45 goals in two years for Redditch United, Hylton was snapped up by Town in the winter transfer window and he hasn’t disappointed since, impressing in the majority of his thirteen outings for the club.

Hylton’s only goal for the Robins so far was an important one as it secured a much-needed win over Peterborough United, whilst two eye-catching displays in the semi-final success over Sheffield United has put the 21-year-old firmly in contention for a starting berth in the League One Play-Off Final against Preston North End.

But, sitting down with FLIC SPORT at The County Ground earlier this week to reflect on his childhood memories of Wembley, Hylton has insisted that he’s not getting too “bogged down” with the idea of starting on Sunday.

“It’s something else. It’s the stuff you dream about when you are a little boy and you are first getting into football and you’re saying ‘I want to play for England, I want to play in the Premier League, I want to play at Wembley at some point,'” Hylton said.

“So, to be in a position where I’m going to Wembley now and to even be in contention for a start – it’s special.

“I’m not really getting too bogged down with the idea of starting because it’s not the main thing, it is more about just playing a part in it and the lads getting through to the Championship.

“When I first started playing football when I was eleven or so, I didn’t really know too much about it but a few of my friends used to be really into football and I went round to one of their houses because they were watching a game that was at Wembley.

“I just sat down, everyone was really excited but I wasn’t too sure what the big deal was at the time, and then just watching the game, seeing all the fans and how everyone was just buzzing – I thought this is something I want to achieve and this is somewhere I want to be.

“The idea that eight or ten years later I’m just a few days away from it – it’s just a special moment.

“At the minute I’m enjoying it all but I’m trying to stay as focused as possible.

“The most important thing is not to get overwhelmed by everything that is going on and try to enjoy it, whilst taking it in your stride and doing what you came here to do.

“The most important thing is going there and getting a result – that’s what we need to focus on.”

Sorting out tickets for friends and family is a very important part of the pre-Wembley build-up for the players, and Hylton has had plenty of requests and messages from people who are desperate to see the highly-rated starlet write a new chapter in his riveting story on Sunday.

“There has been a lot of people asking for tickets and seeing if I can sort them out, but everyone has been really good and I’ve been getting a lot of congratulations,” added Hylton.

“A lot of people have told me that they’ve been inspired by my story and what I’ve done, which is really enjoyable to know.

“When you set out to make the jump I have, you don’t think about inspiring other people – you’re just on a mission.

“So, to know that I have inspired a few people – who are possibly in the same position – to know it is possible and to go and try and do the same thing, it’s something I’m quite proud of.”




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