YORK City striker Richard Brodie is determined to hold on to the England number nine shirt after making his international debut in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Brodie, 21, impressed during the first hour of England ‘C’s 6-2 defeat against a home side including players who had also helped Bosnia beat Estonia in a World Cup qualifying match earlier this month.

The striker was delighted to be handed the Three Lions’ shirt made famous by north-east legend Alan Shearer and now hopes to become a fixture in the national, non-League under-23 set-up.

He said: “I was given the number nine shirt and, even though I’m a Sunderland fan, you think of people like Alan Shearer who’ve worn it. I’m a massive England fan so it was a fantastic honour.

“I watch every game even the friendlies, when my mates aren’t bothered, so to play for my country was an incredible feeling. I made sure I learned every word of the national anthem before we left so I could sing along with the other lads and, even though it was lashing it down with rain and freezing cold, it did not bother me. I was revelling in the occasion.

“There’s a game in Italy on November 12 and I just hope I get the chance to do it all again.”

Brodie said that a nightmare journey to Sarajevo did not take the shine off his England experience.

The team arrived at the Bosnian capital 24 hours later than expected with bad weather meaning their connecting flight from Vienna was cancelled. Following a 5.15am wake-up call at a nearby hotel, the party then boarded another plane only to return to Austria after two aborted landings.

Brodie and his team-mates flew to Croatia instead and endured an eight-hour coach journey before reaching their Sarajevo base on the evening before the match.

The City forward added: “It wasn’t the best preparation, but you can’t control the weather or flights. When we got on the plane in the morning I was absolutely knackered and fell fast asleep.

“When we landed, I thought we were in Sarajevo and couldn’t believe we were back in Austria. “It was tiring, but the adrenalin and realisation that I was going to play for England kept me going.”

Brodie, plucked from the Northern League last year, added that the words of coach and Barnet manager Paul Fairclough before and after the game made him feel at home.

The 6ft 2in striker said: “He was really good with me. He asked me why I thought I was there. I didn’t really know how to answer at first but said I must be doing all right for my club. He said, ‘you’ve been doing more than all right, you’ve been doing very well’.

“He told me not to worry about coming from Benfield to England in less than two years and said I had worked hard to get here so didn’t need to change anything. It was great to have that one-to-one chat with him and it made me stick my chest out.

“I thought I did okay, without blowing my own trumpet, and, when I came off, he shook my hand, and said, ‘you have to be very pleased with your international debut’. My aim this season was to get in the York side so to get the England call-up was a shock and a great bonus.”

• FORMER Rotherham junior Tom Hirst has signed for York City in time to figure in today’s home match against Salisbury.

Skipton-based Hirst, 18, impressed at right-back for City’s reserves in a 2-1 win against Grimsby on Tuesday night. He has also been on Hull’s books previously.

Meanwhile, former City captain Manny Panther looks set for a return to KitKat Crescent with Rushden next month. Panther has joined the club on loan after making just three substitute appearances for Exeter following his release by the Minstermen over the summer. Rushden will visit City on Saturday, October 18 for what is due to be the final game of his one-month spell.