Rocastle driven to achieve his goal
Red-hot striker Jordan Rocastle is being driven to achieve his goal of joining the professional ranks by memories of his late uncle – England ace David.
And he is being tipped to make the grade by his tutor, ex-Canary Gaven Tipple, who said: “You could say football is in his blood.”
Jordan, who is studying for an extended football diploma at Easton College, received a big boost last week when he was called up to the England Colleges team after trials at Lilleshall.
And he celebrated the rare feat by doing what comes naturally – hammering five goals in Diss Town’s 6-0 win at Cornard on Saturday.
He told how his late uncle David Rocastle had been an inspirational figure throughout his life. The Arsenal legend known as Rocky also played 14 times for England and had a spell on loan at Carrow Road.
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“He is my idol, I always looked up to him,” said Jordan, 19. “I knew him reasonably well although he wasn’t able to see me play because he was in Malaysia.”
Jordan has been banging in the goals at all levels since he was a five-year-old. Old Catton, Lakeford Rangers, Wroxham, Norwich United and Diss have all benefited from his predatory skills while Ridgeons League high-flyers Dereham, conquerors of Norwich City on Monday, are known to be among his latest admirers.
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Jordan is delighted by his England Colleges selection and is looking forward to taking on Wales later this month. A tour of Spain could also be on the cards later.
“I was very happy to get the call-up. Easton College have helped me a lot throughout as has my father Stephen, who was on Norwich’s books and played for their reserves.”
Goals have been flowing freely and Jordan doesn’t plan to stop any time soon, even though one target is set to be smashed months early.
“My target at the start of the season was 25 goals for Diss and I have now got 16 in 20 games,” said Jordan, who joined the Tangerines in December 2009.
Jordan’s Easton College course tutor Gaven Tipple can see a bright future.
“He is a very very gifted footballer. He is one of the very few out-and-out goalscorers. There are not many of them about now. All he is interested in is scoring goals.”
Gaven, a central midfielder who was a member of Norwich City’s last South East Counties Youth League winning team, and played around 30 reserve games for City, added: “I personally think he has a good chance of making the grade as a professional.”
Jordan is in the third year of his extended football diploma course at the college and trains with the Academy there. “He has got another year and-a-half here. He is training regularly. He trains just as much as a professional player. He is getting specialist support with strength and conditioning. Everything is here to support Jordan in his quest to become a professional,” said Gaven.
He said Jordan, who is around five feet seven, is determined not to make his lack of height an issue, pointing to the success of Tottenham’s England ace Jermain Defoe, who is of similar stature.
“Clubs, including Norwich, have turned him down because of his size but he is not going to let that deter him and the fact that he has made the national colleges squad proves that.”
Jordan is the second Easton College pupil to be picked for the national representative team. He follows Lee Summerscales, who captained the team at the turn of the Millennium, and went on to turn professional with Cambridge United. He is now a football coach in America.
• David Rocastle file.
Lewisham-born David “Rocky” Rocastle won two League Championships with Arsenal in 1989 and 1991, scoring 23 goals in 228 appearances. His silky midfield skills earned 14 England caps from 1988-92.
He became Leeds United’s record �2m signing in 1992. Moves followed to Manchester City and Chelsea, from where he joined Norwich City on loan making 11 appearances in 1997.
In 1999 he joined Malaysian outfit Sabah scoring eight goals in 13 games.
In February 2001 he announced he was suffering from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer which attacks the immune system. He died in March that year.
Arsenal have named a youth team indoor training facility after David Rocastle who is one of 32 club legends honoured by having their images painted on the side of the Emirates Stadium.