Football: Former Mosgiel striker signs to play for Burnley

Cameron Howieson.
Cameron Howieson.
Former Mosgiel striker Cameron Howieson has signed professional forms with the Burnley club in the United Kingdom although bigger clubs may await.

Howieson, who was born in Dunedin and played all his football for the Mosgiel club, moved to the United Kingdom last year and had signed on as an apprentice with The Championship club.

But he has been so impressive with the youth team he has signed a two-year professional deal, through to the middle of 2014, with Burnley.

Howieson (17) is an attacking midfielder who has played for the New Zealand under-17 side in the past couple of years.

He was a pupil at the Asia Pacific Football Academy, located in Lincoln, which helps develop players' skills with the hope they can go on to a professional career.

Howieson was educated at Otago Boys' High School for two years before he departed for the academy outside Christchurch.

Mosgiel coach and Otago Boys' High School teacher Mike McGarry said Howieson was a talented player with a plenty of skill.

He played on the left-hand side and played Fletcher Cup football for Mosgiel when just 15.

He transferred to the academy in Christchurch in 2010, and picked up an apprenticeship with Burnley after an impressive performance for the New Zealand team at the Under-17 World Cup last year in Mexico.

Howieson has made rapid progress since signing with Burnley.

The club is in The Championship, one level below the English Premier League. It was in the Premier League in 2009-10, but was relegated after just one season.

The youth side Howieson plays for has notched some impressive results and made it through to the semifinals of the FA Youth Cup, before losing 3-1 on aggregate to Blackburn Rovers.

Howieson was signed on last week and has warmed up with the first team although he has yet to make the final playing squad.

But that debut may not be far away.

Burnley won its most recent game 5-1 against Portsmouth and sits in 16th position in the league but is out of relegation danger.

The team was to play Birmingham City this morning.

Burnley manager Eddie Howe told the Burnley Express he had been impressed with the talent on display in the club's youth team and was looking at bringing a few of them through to the first team before the end of the season.

It has also been reported Howieson has become a target for Premiership heavyweights Liverpool and Newcastle, but nothing has been confirmed.

Howieson's parents no longer live in Dunedin. His father Dave has moved to his native United Kingdom to support his son.

McGarry said Howieson's progress showed how there was now a legitimate way ahead for promising players.

"With this academy he went to and others and the whole of football plan set up by New Zealand football it is showing there is a pathway out there for good players," McGarry said.

McGarry's son, James, is a pupil at the Asia Pacific Football Academy this year.