At 15, footballer has reputation as goal scorer and big plans to play professionally, writes Campbell Burnes.

He's small in stature but can be deadly near the goal.

Meet 14-year-old Arzan Todywalla of Pakuranga College.

The young striker is already on the radar of UK Championship club Birmingham City (sixth on the table) and has had two stints training and playing with their academy in the last 15 months. Todywalla is keen to return there next year for a three-week stint in August, once his club and school season is over, and has his sights on playing professionally in the longer term.

One of his mentors - Roger Wilkinson of the Premier Skills Academy - helped Todywalla secure time at Birmingham. He loved the experience and soaked up as much as he could, staying with an uncle in the Midlands city.


He scored a couple of times in three games for the Birmingham academy in his latest stint.

"The standard is a lot higher than here," says Todywalla, whose family immigrated from Mumbai, India, when he was a baby. "It's a lot more challenging to train and play at that kind of level in England."

His first stint in September 2014 gave him the impetus for a good home season in 2015.

"It helped me, having more knowledge when I played this season."

That meant he was a more potent force for his Fencibles club, where he turns out for the Metro premier under-14 team, and for his school side, the Pakuranga College under-15s. Unusually for a Year Nine boy, Todywalla also had a taste of first XI football, playing twice for the top side.

Pakuranga had a good season, winning the Senior A2 grade and promotion to Senior A1 for the 2016 season. That is one level below the Auckland schools premier league.

Pakuranga have already started training for next season in a bid to be more than just competitive and Todywalla is expecting to play a more meaningful role for them.

Aside from school trainings he plays on Saturdays for his club and on Sundays for the school. Add in his studies, and he sleeps well at night.

He comes under the wing of club coach Justin Green at Fencibles and, between him and Wilkinson, they keep on top of Todywalla's technical game. He kicks well off both feet, as most top strikers should do but, Todywalla lists finishing as one of his major work-ons.

"Sometimes I get the hard ones and miss the easy ones."