RICHARD Chaplow admits he is pinching himself at the prospect of pulling on an England shirt.

The Burnley midfielder could become the club's first ever Under-21 international if he makes an appearance against Holland in Hull tonight.

And Chaplow, 19, is keen to grab his unexpected opportunity with both hands and stake a claim for a regular inclusion in David Platt's rebuilding plans.

The talented teenager, who was playing reserve team football at Turf Moor less then a year ago, said: "I'm keeping my fingers crossed for tonight.

"Mr Platt has already had a meeting to explain that he has brought a lot of lads in looking to the European Championships in two years time.

"At my age, I've got four years yet with the Under 21s, but international level is a big step up and it's something I have to try to handle.

"Being selected is undoubtedly the highlight of my career, right up there with my first goal for Burnley.

"Now playing for my country would put the icing on the cake. Twelve months ago I was still playing youth and reserve team football, so it's all a bit of a dream and I don't really know what to make of it all.

"Sometimes I just have a little giggle to myself at the sheer speed with which everything has happened."

Chaplow's hardest task was keeping quiet after Platt first informed Clarets boss Stan Ternent last Thursday he was promoting Chaplow from the U19s as midfield cover.

The England squads were not announced until after Saturday's league and cup games, forcing the teenager to restrict the news to family members for more than 48 hours.

Chaplow confessed: "It's been a pretty strange week. I thought I was heading to Holland and when Mr Platt rang the gaffer on Thursday to tell him I was involved with the Under 21s, I could only let my parents and uncle know, because they had to change their travel plans.

"It felt nice enough just being picked for England, but the Under 21s is an even bigger step.

"Mr Platt explained that I would have started the game with the Under 19s, but he needed another central midfielder so he was bringing me in.

"He told me he would try to get me a game if he could, so now all I can do is hope."

Chaplow's impressive club form first alerted Platt and the England coaches to his burgeoning talent.

And the Clarets midfielder was quick to his praise all those at Turf Moor who have contributed to his meteoric rise.

He said: "I owe a debt to so many people in the game because everyone has been involved at some stage.

"The gaffer obviously gave me my chance, but I also have to thank the coaches at Burnley and especially Terry Pashley. I owe them all a lot really.

"I have obviously been picked for my club form and now I have to carry that on to try to stay in the frame, which will hopefully be good for Burnley."

Clarets chief Stan Ternent has no doubts that Chaplow is ready to make the leap onto the international stage.

Ternent, who plans to travel to Hull tonight, said: "We are all delighted for Richard and it's deserved recognition because he has come a long way in a short time.

"So long as he keeps his feet on the ground he will continue to do well, but I definitely think he is ready for the step up and he will do okay.

"He can handle that and I'm sure he will play at some stage. I don't think David would have called him up if he wasn't going to have a look. He might not start, but I'm pretty certain he will come on at some stage in the proceedings."