Brereton mania is in full swing, and it’s here to stay. The Chileans have taken the Rovers attacker to their hearts.

First his call-up last month, then his debut in the Copa America opener against Argentina and after that enterprising cameo brought with it a start against Bolivia, he needed just 11 minutes to score his first goal, one that proved to be the winner.

Who knows what the next chapter will be? It could come as early as tonight’s third group game against Uruguay.

Central to it all is Brereton’s mum, Andrea, born in the Chilean region of Concepcion, and it was that which enabled the 22-year-old to pledge his allegiance to the country of his mother’s birth after a four-month qualification process.

The attention on the Brereton story has even seen Chilean sports station TNT send a camera crew to the family home in Staffordshire to interview the family of their new superstar.

He is front, as well as back, page news.

The Brereton story dates back generations, a family ceramics business was started up by Ben’s great-grandfather Juan, and then taken on by his son, Genaro. With Stoke-on-Trent known for its pottery, that was the connection between the family, Chile and the Staffordshire town.

“After studying for four years in England and meeting my mother, my father went back to Concepcion, where me and my sisters were born,” Andrea explained.  “Our infancy was in Barros Arana in an apartment in the area of Gallery Martinez which is where my family is from.”

She followed in the footsteps of her father and went to England to study. 

“I left Concepcion in 1986 when I was 15 always thinking about returning. I only came here to study, I love Chile but after marrying my husband, we had two children.”

Ben quickly found an interest in football and it was soon clear he had a real talent.

“From when he started to walk he had a football at his feet,” she added.

“At four-years-old we took him to a club and everyone was saying how good he was.

“From the ages of seven to 14 he was with Manchester United, he would eat his food and do his homework in the car. He was very dedicated to it.”

It was then onto boyhood club Stoke City, then Nottingham Forest before signing for Rovers in the summer of 2018 for around £6m, by which point Brereton had England up to Under-20 level.

First up on his return to England will be Spanish lessons, but while unable to speak the language, Brereton’s infectious energy has seen the team, as well as the country, welcome him in as one of their own, and not been a barrier to showing his promise on the pitch.

And while thousands of miles away watching on, the Brereton household couldn’t be prouder.

“This is something incredible. I am so proud,” said Andrea in a newspaper interview with her hometown paper, La. “We’ve cried, cried and cried, it’s an incredible opportunity.

“We always said he could one day play for Chile but we never thought it would be a reality.”

The story continues to gain traction, and still there is shock when people see Brereton lining up for La Roja, doing so as Brereton Diaz with a nod to his family history.

For Brereton, meeting his team-mates in Santiago last month was the first time in Chile since he was six months old, having first come onto the national team’s radar back in late 2020.

For Andrea, she says there was always a possibility of Brereton lining up in the red of Chile.

“Ben had a real want to play for Chile, when we talked about the possibility he immediately said yes,” she explained. “We went to London a couple of times, did the paperwork to achieve his Chilean nationality.

“He was six months old when we went with him so he clearly doesn’t remember anything of the country.”

Brereton opened his account by scoring the winner in Chile’s second Copa America group match. His goal, finishing off a sweeping team move with a neat finish into the corner, 11 minutes in made it four points out of six for Chile who look well set to progress into the knockout stages.

Brereton’s impact on his debut against Argentina on Monday saw him rewarded with a starting spot, and the attacker took full advantage.

His goal sent social media into a spin, Brereton-mania taking hold in Chile whose fans have a new hero.

For boss Martin Lasarte, he was pleased with Brereton’s contribution, not least given his lack of Spanish has made communication difficult.

He said: “For Ben it was an important occasion, but also a difficult one, to play as a starter in the national team, where they do not speak the language he speaks.

“He is making a great effort to understand, and his colleagues have a lot of responsibility in this, as they are helping him a lot.

“He had his chance and he took it.

“Surely for him it was a very motivating situation, from the point of view of the anxiety of the debut and also to score a goal.

“He did a great job and ended up exhausted, which is logical.”

Brereton finished the match with a 90 per cent pass completion rate, three shots on target, one chance created and most vitally, the winning goal.

Eduardo Vargas teed him up for the winner, and said of his strike-partner: “We get along well with Ben. We don’t know his language, he doesn’t know how to speak Spanish either, but we understand each other very well on the pitch.”

Former Chile international Mauricio Pinilla tweeted after the game: ‘My next son will be called Ben!’ as the country continues to take Brereton to their hearts.

Brereton himself posted on social media: “Great job everyone. I’m very happy for today’s game. We will continue working hard!”

Chile’s win over Bolivia lifted spirits of Rovers fans in the aftermath of a desperately disappointing England performance against Scotland.

Next up for Chile are Uruguay who they face tonight. You would be forgiven for looking forward to that as much as England’s game with Czech Republic a day later.