Former Canary hopes Maltese adventure can kick start pro career
- Credit: Archant © 2013
Norfolk's Louis Cutajar is hoping that his fairytale selection to represent Malta will revive his dream of a professional career in English football.
The 20-year-old from Burgh Castle, near Yarmouth, makes his international debut for Malta Under-21s in Poland tonight after an extraordinary sequence of events led to him being called up by the country of his grand-father's birth.
Cutajar, who finished last season at Diss having played for both Lowestoft and Norwich United since failing to make the grade after six years going through the Norwich City Academy system, was spotted while playing in an impromtu five-a-side game organised by a cousin during a family holiday on the island last September.
After impressing in a trial the defender was selected for a warm-up match against an Italian regional side earlier this year Cutajar has spent the past month with leading Maltese club Hibernians to improve his fitness levels ahead of tonight's friendly international in Krakow.
'I think Louis took his foot off the pedal when he was released by the Canaries,' said dad Andy. 'But the call-up has given him back his belief and made him realise he perhaps didn't give it as much as he could when he didn't get taken on by City. I think it woke him up a bit.
'He's already had three Maltese clubs offer him full-time contracts and a couple of weeks ago (under-21 coach) Ray Farrugia said he could see no reason why he shouldn't go on to become a full international.
'Ray has one or two contacts in England and the question is whether he'd prefer Louis to be with a Maltese club or possibly playing at a higher level in England.
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'But I know Louis is hoping that this will make more clubs aware of him here.'
The Maltese call-up led to defender Louis getting some friendly leg pulling at Diss Town, where his clubmates managed to find a recording of the Maltese national anthem to play in the dressing room.
But he says: 'They've been really supportive. I've been chuffed by their reaction.'
Cutajar will have plenty of family support in Krakow as dad Andy, mum Sheila and older brother Craig were all flying out to watch him this morning.