FORMER Lymm High School student Louis Holden heads to Italy today to represent Wales Schoolboys under 18s in a European football tournament.

The adventure caps a great season for the 17-year-old centre-back from Grappenhall who is on the books of Welsh professional club Connah's Quay Nomads.

Holden, a Nomads scholarship student at Coleg Cambria in Deeside, recently played a key role in the Wales Schoolboys' historic success in the Centenary Shield.

He played every minute of every game as Wales won the tournament for the first time in 41 years.

The Centenary Shield is an international competition for under 18s schoolboys and college students also involving teams from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, who compete against each other in a round robin format.

Holden's team sealed the Shield in their final game when defeating Republic of Ireland 2-0 at Caernarfon Town Football Club.

His selection for the Wales Schoolboys squad came on the back of four separate trials.

Earlier in the year Holden became the youngest player to play for the Wales Colleges under 19s team.

Holden, who is eligible to play for Wales by virtue of being in higher education in the country, played in two draws against England Colleges.

He started out his career at grassroots level with Lymm Piranhas and Grappenhall Sports before Port Vale invited him to join their academy at the age of 11, although he was released just before he turned 16.

Connah’s Quay snapped him up 11 months later on a two-year scholarship.