An Englishman playing for RC Lens in northern France, Taylor Moore speaks eloquently about the moment "your heart jumps into your throat" and his unique blend of qualities.
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Walthamstow, a bustling market district of east London, to Lens, an old mining town in northern France, is not a path well trodden. Introducing England Under-17s defender-cum-midfielder Taylor Moore …
Moore is a bilingual 16-year-old. He is an articulate, engaging and courteous youngster, a distinctive character. He has been part of the England setup since February and is a member of the squad in Malta seeking UEFA European U17 Championship glory. Rewind a few years, though, to when he initially moved across the Channel, and this remarkably well-rounded individual's story starts to take shape.
"We moved out to see what it was like for one year, and then planned to come back," he told UEFA.com. "We decided to stay another year, and then another, and so on. I was playing for a small local club, AS Etaples, and one day a guy asked if I'd like to come back to RC Lens. Shortly after that I received a letter asking me to go to a training session, and that's when your heart jumps up into your throat. Now I've been there five years."
Moore is at what Lens refer to as 'Formation level', which means he boards full time on the campus – around 90 minutes from his family home – and the club take him to and from school. His education, which will continue until aged 18, is clearly important to Moore, who is adding Spanish to his repertoire both in and outside of school: "I've come to realise languages are key in life and I know it will help me."
There is also a pinch of German about Moore according to some. "A lot of people say that when I play at the back I'm like [Per] Mertesacker, but that must be mostly because I'm tall and blonde!" he added. "Also, I think any English midfielder admires Steven Gerrard, a great player."
For a player with such an unusual background, however, comparisons are tricky. Moore looks to have inherited a unique combination of traits both on and off the field that should stand him in good stead in the future. "The French game is a lot slower and more technical, while the English game is of course very fast and very physical," he said.
"I've had the chance to have best of both worlds. Being English but playing in France has been good because I can add some of the English fighting spirit to the French technique, and vice versa."