WATCH out Beckham -- Preston's Chris Ward is hot on your heels.

For former Preston College student Chris has scored the goal of a lifetime after being signed by Birmingham City Football Club.

Chris, 20, from Conder Road in Ashton, Preston, was head-hunted to join the Division One club by Matthew Francis, the son of famous Birmingham City manager Trevor Francis.

Now the former Ashton High School pupil is aiming to make a big name for himself on the pitch in the hope of being selected for the England team in the future.

Chris said: "I plan to go to Birmingham and hopefully do well. You never know, they could be in the Premiership before long!

"My ideal team to play for would obviously be England -- maybe with this opportunity, I am a little closer to that dream."

Since he was a youngster, attending Lea County Primary School, Chris has dreamed of being a world-class footballer like David Beckham.

He played football at Kirkham Juniors Club when he was six and moved to Springfields and Fulwood Amateurs, in Preston, when he was a teenager.

Later Chris was signed to Lancaster Football Club when he was 18 and had just started a Sports Studies degree at the University of Central Lancashire when he was asked to join the Blues two months ago.

He joined the club's reserve team for two games and training practice. After impressive performances, scoring in both games, he was offered a permanent place with the team and will start playing at the St Andrew's ground in Birmingham on Monday, July 9.

Despite being a Preston lad Chris has been a life-long Everton fan.

He said: "I started playing football as soon as I was old enough to walk and I have always been an Everton supporter.

"I went to see them as a kid and met the players because Mike Stowell the goal keeper was my dad's friend."

Dave Spence, Preston College football coach, said: "Chris' talent was obvious as soon as he came to us at Preston College.

"He is the best goal scorer I have ever worked with and Birmingham has now recognised the same ability in him."