JOE Whitney has won tickets to watch England in Euro 2024 after triumphing in the Paddy Power shoot-out competition.

The 18-year-old goalkeeper lined up between the sticks for White Ensign in the Essex Senior League last season.

But the youngster won £5,000 and his place at the European Championships by scoring spot-kicks not saving them.

“Winning the prizes caught me by surprise,” said Whitney.

“My father and I entered the competition for a laugh and I never expected to get out the group let alone win it all.

“Going to the England opener will be my first experiences at a major tournament and the money is absurd to me for scoring 17 penalties!”

Whitney will now be in the stands when the Three Lions face Serbia at the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen this Sunday.

And the Westcliff based shot-stopper made sure of his place on the plane by seeing off a number of competitors.

“The format consisted of a group stage of roughly 60 to 100 people and the requirement to reach the final was you had to be the last person standing,” said Whitney.

“If you score you go again, miss and you’re out. I managed to win my group scoring 14 penalties.

“I entered the final where the 20 group winners had to be narrowed down to five winners.

“I scored three out of three penalties which was enough to make me a winner.

“But it didn’t go quite so well for my father as he missed the first one he took!”

Whitney had no such issues and has always enjoyed taking and trying to save penalties.

“I’ve always loved penalties, both taking and scoring them,” said Whitney.

“As goalkeeper I used to take them at under 14s and under 15s, running up the other end to take them and, as a goalkeeper, who doesn’t love saving them.

“I saved a few this year with Ensign, Bowers and Swifts so I was confident I could figure out the keepers methods for a few.”

But Whitney has now opted to move on from White Ensign and will be playing further afield next season.

“Ensign was such a great experience,” said Whitney.

“I really needed a run of games in senior men’s football and Ensign was the perfect environment for me.

“It was a young squad where I would be tested and challenged physically and mentally, which has definitely helped me to develop.

“Next season I am taking a trip across the pond to America where I will start my scholarship for college football.

“I hope to break into the starting 11 and build a name for myself in the division as a freshman!”