THREE months ago Dan Carter was without a club and working behind the bar at North Greenford United – now he's about to pull on an England shirt.
Okay, so it's not Fabio Capello who has called up the Bedfont Town full-back, but England Colleges U19s manager Simon East – but it's still a remarkable turnaround for the former Brentford junior.
Carter was manning the bar at North Greenford when Bedfont visited for an FA Cup tie back in September, and was recognised by Town's Tommy Brewer and Lol Brinicombe, who knew him from their Brentford days.
He was immediately taken on by Bedfont's reserve side, and impressed so much he went straight into the first team, where he has been ever since.
Carter said: “I suppose it's a bit unusual how I ended up at Bedfont. I hadn't played football for four or five months. After being released by Brentford at 16, I spent two years at AFC Wimbledon, then started last season at Staines Town before drifting away a bit.
“But I kept playing for my college side at Harefield Academy, where I am doing a BTEC National Diploma Level 3, and was picked for trials by the England Colleges FA. I got through two, and then the final one at Lilleshall last week.
“The manager, Simon East, used to be in charge of Hayes & Yeading's U18s, and remembered me from a number of games I had played against them.”
Carter is set to make his debut for the national colleges side when they take on their Welsh counterparts next month, and is also in line for a four-way tournament also featuring Croatia, Romania and hosts Italy in March.
In the meantime, he will be trying to help Bedfont away from the Southern League Central drop zone, starting with home games against Chertsey Town on Boxing Day and Aylesbury on New Year's Eve, after the postponment of Saturday's game at Daventry left the second-bottom.
Carter added: “I was brought in by the previous manager, Kevin Cooper, so was sad to see him go, but Jon-Barrie Bates has come in and done really well. He is such a role model for us all, and all the lads love him.
“But having had a taste of playing at a higher level, my aim is to be playing back there one day, so I would listen to anyone who came in for me, but I am thinking about a career in the emergency services too.”