Exam Hall

Rob Hall has had no time to bask in the glory of helping England to win the UEFA European Under-17 Championship.

Instead, the West Ham United Academy forward has swapped his boots and shinpads for books and notepads in preparation for his GCSE examinations, which began on Monday.

Hall rose to the challenge of representing his country in Liechtenstein last month, scoring once and playing in all five of England's matches, and is hoping to do so again in the exam hall.

"I had maths on Monday and I had English language on Tuesday morning. They both went alright, to be honest, and I've got science on Wednesday.

"I studied quite a bit while I was away with England. Myself and two of our other younger players, Nathaniel Chalobah and Ross Barkley, had a lot of educational classes to make sure we revised while we were away."

Having helped his country to their first major tournament success since the U18s won the European Championship in 1993, Hall is unlikely to be daunted by his exams.

Indeed, the 16-year-old's confidence under pressure shone through when he confidently tucked home the match-winning penalty in England's group-stage victory over Turkey.

"We had been practising penalties and I was one of the best, scoring six out of eight. Nathaniel and George Thorne both scored all eight, but our manager John Peacock said I was on penalties if we got one.

"It seemed like the whole world wanted me to miss, as virtually the whole crowd and their players were heckling me as I waited to take it. Only my team-mates and a few fans wanted me to score, so it was great to do so and help us to win the game and maintain our 100 per cent record."

England won all eleven matches they contested in the tournament, winning six qualifiers and five games at the finals.

Hall himself began the qualifying campaign on stand-by, only for injuries to hand him an unexpected opportunity to shine.

"We took the whole competition game-by-game. I was actually on stand-by for the trip to Azerbaijan for the qualifiers and I got the call-up the day before the squad flew out. I met the other lads at the airport!

"I managed to take my chance and scored twice in our first match against Kazakhstan, which we won 6-2, and then we beat Azerbaijan comfortably and Serbia 1-0, but we should have battered them, too.

"We beat Sweden, Malta and Slovakia in the Elite Round, who were all good teams, but we just seemed to find out stride and everything started to click. We moved the ball nicely and took what we were doing on the training ground into the matches."

Robert Hall

In Liechtenstein, England continued where they had left off, beating Czech Republic, Greece, Turkey and France to set up a final meeting with Spain, who they defeated 2-1 to lift the trophy.

"We did alright!" said Hall. "Everyone played their part in the tournament - even the two lads who came in late as injury replacements, Jake Bidwell and Chuks Aneke, did very well. We had a very good year-group and it was great for me to be part of something so special."

Aside from his start against Turkey, the young forward was used as an impact substitute by manager Peacock, using his pace and dribbling ability to good effect alongside more powerful forwards Conor Wickham and Benik Afobe.

"The other lads know how I play and that I can change games. I am a positive player who likes to get in behind the opposing defence.

"John said that we sometimes passed the ball too much and didn't shoot enough, but I've never been afraid to shoot. I like to think I gave the team a different option."

Unfortunately for Hall, his October 1993 birth-date means he will not be part of England's squad at next summer's European U17 Championship, but he is predicting big things for close friend and room-mate Chalobah.

The Chelsea centre-back is still just 15 and a year away from taking his own GCSEs, but Hall believes the defender is one to watch in the future.

"Nathaniel is very mature. I shared a room with him at the tournament and he is one of my closest mates. He's a very good player with a great attitude. Like me, he's still learning the game and he is still taking it all in."

While Chalobah has next year's tournament to focus on, Hall's international commitments will take a back seat for a few months, save for one special date at Wembley in August.

"We have been invited to come and parade the European Championship trophy around the pitch at half-time in England's friendly with Hungary on 11 August, which will be a great experience.

"England have told us they will be organising an U18 friendly just before Christmas to keep us ticking over, but I will be concentrating on my exams making a good start to my scholarship at West Ham for now. If I'm good enough, I will be called up by the U19s, but I've got to play well for my club first."