Dean Rittenberg hopes to cap his rapid rise to prominence with a first team debut against Wigan Athletic this afternoon.
The young striker started the season with the Under-18s, but has quickly progressed to the fringes of the first team – making a goalscoring bow for England along the way!
Rittenberg, who doesn’t turn 18 until later this month, has been on the bench for the last two Championship fixtures, and would be thrilled to get a run-out at Ewood Park today.
"Last year I wasn't playing that much for the Under-18s, so I didn't know what to expect this year, but it has happened so quickly,” he said.
"I had a few good games for the Under-18s, scoring a lot of goals, which gave me a chance with the Under-21s and I did really well and it kicked on from there and I stayed with them all season.
"At every age group I scored goals, but last year it didn't happen. But this year I showed that I could. I was given a chance and I took it and then got called up by England.”
Rittenberg made his England Under-18 debut against Belgium in February, scoring the final goal in a 4-0 win.
"I came on around the 75th minute, had a few touches and I was eager to score,” he said. “The ball was out wide and was crossed in, I went front post and got the touch. To see it go in was a great feeling."
He picked up two further caps against Croatia, before playing at Rotherham’s New York Stadium against Germany – scoring with his first touch and then laying on the winner in a 2-1 triumph in front of over 9,000 fans!
"We were getting beat 1-0 and I came on in the 75th minute again and within seconds I scored with my first touch with a header. I couldn't believe it. A couple of minutes later, we had some good play and I got slipped in down the line, I crossed it in and Harry (Winks) scored and we've won it 2-1.
"It was the first time we'd beaten Germany since 2001 at any age group.”
Rittenberg is now putting club before country, as he looks to force his way into Gary Bowyer’s permanent plans.
"Hopefully I can get on the bench again,” he added. “We'll see what happens and how the game goes and maybe I can get on the pitch.
"I've never been on the bench for a home game and the atmosphere is always great at Ewood, so I'd love to be on the bench for the game against Wigan.
"It has been great to be with the first team away at Birmingham and Charlton, there's nothing better than winning. The atmosphere has been good, because we always think we are going to win before the game. After the games have been great, there's a good feeling around the place."
"To train and be involved with the first team is like a dream come true. I love it. It is all I've wanted to do since I was a kid and it is starting to come true now. I just need to continue to work as hard as I can and see where it takes me."