JACK Swann has revealed how he swapped the Wessex League for the Premier League during an impromptu training session with star-studded Stoke City.
The Bournemouth Poppies frontman, 25, is the partner of Stephanie Pulis, daughter of Potters manager Tony.
Swann got the chance of a life-time earlier this season when he took part in a one-off training session with the top-flight outfit alongside the likes of England internationals Peter Crouch and Matthew Upson.
The opportunity came when Swann and Stephanie visited Manchester for a concert, taking in Stoke’s Europa League tie with Dynamo Kiev while they were there.
But the Wessex League striker, who scored in Poppies’ 2-0 win over local rivals Christchurch on Tuesday, ended up training with some household names.
Swann told the Daily Echo: “Stephanie asked her dad if he would show me around and he was happy to do that. I was expecting to just have a look and watch how they train, I wasn’t expecting to take part at all.
“I didn’t have much choice really. I was told to get a bib on and get involved. I was a bit reluctant and thought ‘Blimey, this is something I’m not too comfortable with’, but once you start it is not something you think about.
“I thought I did all right but you’d have to ask him (Pulis).
“It was an unbelievable experience to train alongside players of that calibre and I don’t think I’ll ever get an opportunity like that again – it was a bit of a surreal experience to be honest.
“The best memory of the day was playing a one-two with Peter Crouch and having a chat with him at the end. He was a really nice bloke – I was some random guy who just turned up, so to have a chat with him was excellent.
“I thought ‘What am I doing here, I’m a Wessex League player’. It was nerve-wracking but I loved every minute of it – the adrenaline was pumping and it was all a bit of a blur.”
But even after his Stoke experience, Swann dedicated his match-winning performance against former club Christchurch to Poppies boss Ken Vaughan, highlighting the faith he had shown in him since arriving from Priory in February.
The striker scored the opener before Max Cream’s late strike sealed a 2-0 victory over Christchurch at Hurn Bridge.
Swann added: “I hadn’t scored for a few games and it’s always good to get one against your old club. I was pleased for Kenny, too, because it meant a lot to him.
“I am enjoying it again now. Kenny said he’d give me games and he has stuck to his word, which has helped me get my match fitness back.”
Priory: Collins, Costello, Legg (Cornick, 79), Crutchley (Lovell, 84), Brian, Burt, Smith, Taylor, Osborne, Fairbrother, Griffin. Unused subs: Dand, Thompson.
Poppies: Frampton, Crow, Jackson (Watt, 28), Molyneaux, Crutcher, Leadbetter, Ingram, Cream, Ewen, Hogan, Swann. Unused subs: Phillipson-Masters, Moreau, Vinuesa, Vaughan (g/k).