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Teenager may fit the Bill

PUBLISHED: 13:09 09 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 August 2010

Billy Godleman of Middlesex

Billy Godleman of Middlesex

By Jack Marsh BRONDESBURY batsman Billy Godleman has returned to Lord s with high hopes for the coming season, but he isn t looking beyond Middlesex just yet. Godleman was tipped as a future England player at the age of just 15, and has just spent the win

By Jack Marsh

BRONDESBURY batsman Billy Godleman has returned to Lord's with high hopes for the coming season, but he isn't looking beyond Middlesex just yet.

Godleman was tipped as a future England player at the age of just 15, and has just spent the winter representing England under-19s in the World Cup in Malaysia.

But the tall left-hander, who plays his club cricket at Harman Drive, insists that, at least for now, he still has a lot to learn and is more than happy to do that at county level as he prepares for his second season as a first-class player.

"I've just turned 19, so I'm still young and still learning how to bat," Godleman told the Times this week.

"This year is about just taking one game at a time, giving that as much energy and focus as I can, and trying to push into the [Middlesex] one-day team."

Last year, Godleman established himself in the County Championship side with some solid performances which included a memorable century on his debut against Somerset.

He now boasts a first class average of over 40, but is keen not to be pigeonholed as a player for the longer game, having starred for England under-19s in one-day matches.

"I am aiming to break into the one-day team, hopefully at the beginning of the season but perhaps later on. I don't want to be known as just a four-day player," added Godleman, who has hardly had time to reflect on his debut season after a busy winter.

He travelled to India prior to Christmas to work at the England Performance Camp, before joining up with the under-19 World Cup squad for the tournament in Malaysia.

Although he would have liked to progress further in the competition (England were knocked out in the quarter finals by India), he felt the experience was certainly a good one.

"For me as an individual, and for my learning, it has been really beneficial.

"By no stretch of the imagination have I mastered playing on the sub-continent, but it's early days and I'm happy with where I am."

Godleman is not the only young talent coming through the ranks at Middlesex. Eoin Morgan, Nick Compton and Steven Finn have all been gaining praise from the more senior players at the club and could be in the international reckoning soon if they start the season well.

England batsman Andrew Strauss felt that this was an important season for the youngsters.

"All of them have looked excellent prospects, You don't want to put too much pressure on them, because they are still young guys learning the game, but this season could be big for them."

Captain Ed Smith also pointed out that, with players such as Strauss - back in favour with England after his 173 in the final Test win in New Zealand - and Owais Shah potentially away on international duty for much of the season, there would be plenty of opportunities for these emerging talents to secure their positions in the first XI over the coming months.

With the season opening next week, it certainly looks as though Godleman and his fellow young stars could achieve great things with Middlesex this year.

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