SOUTHEND United’s highly-rated goalkeeper Nathan Bishop is to spend three days training with England ahead of the forthcoming Toulon tournament.

The 17-year-old shone between the sticks for the Shrimpers last season.

And Blues’ head of youth Ricky Duncan is delighted Bishop will get to spend time with the country’s top young players.

“It’s fantastic for Nathan to get this opportunity,” said Duncan.

“We got a phone call asking if he would be available to spend three days training with the group in Burton and we said yes straight away.

“The experience will be invaluable for him.”

England’s squad for the Toulon tournament is made up of players from the under 18, 19 and 20 age-groups.

And Duncan believes Bishop’s involvement shows the England selectors are fully aware of the youngster’s talents.

“Nathan will not be going to the tournament but they are aware of him and his involvement in training proves that,” said Duncan.

“I’m sure they’ve been watching him and he’s had a great season.

“He’s played well for the under 18s and the under 21s and has also been on the bench for the first team.

"He’s in the first year of his scholarship and we’ve already offered him the third year which is something we’ve never done before in my time here.

"But he fully deserves it after the way he’s played and how hard he works.”

Bishop will be looking to continue Blues’ fine tradition of producing their own goalkeepers as he strives to follow in the foot-steps of Ted Smith and Daniel Bentley.

Smith made 21 appearances for Southend’s first team last season while Bentley is now lining up for Brentford in the Championship.

However, Bishop is now also starting to carve out a promising career, saving six of the nine penalties he faced last term.

And Duncan has also been exceptionally impressed by the youngster’s attitude.

“Nathan is incredibly professional, especially for his age,” said Duncan.

“The first thing he did when he found out he was training with England was text me to say thank you and that sums him up.”