Hibs Kiwi kid relishing prospect of Under-20 World Cup

For the vast majority of football stars, playing in the World Cup is no more than a dream - but today Hibs kid Jamie Doris is looking forward to his second at the age of just 18.

Having already represented New Zealand at Under-17 level, the Easter Road youngster now has his fingers crossed he'll be named in the Kiwis squad for the Under-20 competition which starts in South America at the end of this month.

Although born in Edinburgh, Doris and his family emigrated to the Antipodes when he was six. But his determination to carve out a career as a professional football player saw him turn his back on life on the other side of the world and return to his roots in the Capital.

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He explained: "Surprisingly, football is popular with youngsters in New Zealand, although everyone associates the country more with rugby and cricket. I was always keen on the game, I played at school and then for a local team moving up through the grades, training four or five nights a week.

"However, there's no professional league in New Zealand, so if you have any ambition to be a pro then you have to leave. For me it was either Australia or somewhere in Europe so having been born in Edinburgh and still having family here it seemed the ideal place.

"I put together a 'football CV' with what I had achieved - at that time I was playing for national Under-17 side. Hibs said they'd have a look at me and when they offered to sign me I was really keen to stay.

"I'd always wanted to be a professional player so I was at the stage where, if I was really serious about it, I was going to have to make a few big decisions. Obviously it affected the whole family, my dad Allan, mother Claire and my sister Jasmin and they had quite a big say in the matter.

"But at the end of the day I really wanted to give it a try, I didn't want to be looking back in ten years' time regretting not giving it a dash."

A broken leg put paid to much of last season but having recovered to help New Zealand top the Oceanic qualifying group, he's hoping he'll be part of the Kiwis set-up when the Under-20 World Cup kicks off in Colombia on the last day of July.

He said: "Two years ago I was part of the Under-17 side which went to the World Cup in Nigeria, which was an amazing experience for a boy who was only 16 at the time. We qualified from our group, playing against Costa Rica, Turkey and Burkina Faso to become the first New Zealand team to make the second round.

"We were playing in front of crowds of 20,000 at that stage but there were 50,000 in the ground when we were knocked out by Nigeria. Everyone seemed to have those vuvuzelas, you couldn't' hear a thing because of them."

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Hanging around airports and sitting on planes for hours at a time have become second nature to the young midfielder who made the long journey home to help New Zealand qualify for their latest World Cup adventure, conceding just one goal as they faced the Solomon Islands, Fiji and Papa New Guinea, a competition which was followed by a tournament in South Korea where the "All Whites" faced the hosts, Nigeria and Uruguay.

And before he heads for Colombia, Doris will be joining his Easter Road team-mates as they head for Norway after being invited to take part in the 23rd Jet-11 Youth International Tournament. He said: "I always seem to be in an airport or in the air but I've become used to it. It comes with New Zealand and Scotland being on the opposite sides of the world, we really couldn't be any further away.

"I'm looking forward to Norway. It looks like a good tournament with a lot of good teams in it so it would be nice to think we can go there and win. Then it will be on to the World Cup which, obviously, I'm really relishing. I've been lucky enough to have already played in one and in two years' time I'd still be eligible to play at Under-20 level so it could be three World Cups by the time I am 20."

The fact he was born here in Edinburgh makes Doris eligible to play for Scotland - something he is, of course, well aware of while, it is understood, the appropriate figures within the SFA have been appraised of his dual nationality.

However, Doris insisted that was a question he'll face in the future should it ever arise, declaring his pride in donning the silver fern.

He added: "I'm extremely proud to represent New Zealand, there's nothing better for me than to be singing the national anthem and be playing in front of my family and friends for my country.

"I don't want to think too far ahead, I am proud to play for New Zealand but I am obviously aware I can still play for Scotland. At the moment I am happy to be representing New Zealand."

For the time being Doris' full attention will be given to trying to follow in the footsteps of his Kiwi hero Chris Killen, who became a fans' favourite at Easter Road during Tony Mowbray's era as manager.

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He said: "Chris is really big back in New Zealand, he was a bit of an idol and from what I hear he did really well when he was at Hibs. Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.

"I'm really looking forward to next season. I'm well settled, happy and Hibs have been really good to me. Hopefully I'll have a clean bill of health throughout the season, do well for the Under-19s in both the League and the Cup and push towards a place in the first team squad."

"We were playing in front of 20,000 but there were 50,000 when we were knocked out by Nigeria" jamie doris

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