Tragedy of promising footballer who had England trial

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A FOOTBALLER who showed promise for the Owls as a teenager before tragically succumbing to alcohol addiction has died aged just 28.

Tommy Keeney played for Sheffield Wednesday until he was 16, but turned to drink after a knockback from England’s youth team shattered his dream of a pro career.

The Owls spotted the talented right-winger’s potential when he was playing for Newcastle United’s School of Excellence, and quickly signed him up.

Tommy was then invited for trials with the England youth team, but abandoned his football career when he was rejected.

He died of a burst ulcer and liver failure.

His devastated parents Mary, aged 52, and Rob, 55, said: “We just don’t know what we are going to do without him.”

Mary, a kitchen assistant, said: “He was football-mad and he will always be remembered for his talent on the pitch. Everyone used to say how good he was.

“After the trials he chucked the football away. He began drinking more and more.

“For the past 12 months he hadn’t really drank that much, but it was too late. The damage had been done.”

At seven years old, Tommy – then a player for Redheugh Boys in Gateshead – was tipped to be a future star and was picked up by Newcastle.

Tommy died in hospital.