BARCELONA'S scouts have made a startling trip to Fleetwood Town to watch young English centre-back James Hill.
The Catalan giants reportedly watched the 19-year-old's performance with a keen eye during his side's 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion last month.
Hill is out of contract at Fleetwood in the summer despite being offered a new deal at the end of last season.
Along with Barca, The Mail also believe he has attracted a lot of interest from Premier League clubs.
The revelation of Barca's visit comes just days after he was selected in Lee Carsley's England Under-21s squad for the first time.
He will link up with the national team's age group squad on Monday ahead of a European Championship qualifier against Czech Republic.
Speaking about the call-up, Hill said: "Obviously when you go away with England it's a very technical game, there are a lot of talented boys.
"When you're in League One, it's physically demanding and a different style of play. A lot of the ball is on the deck with England and with my club it is a different challenge, more of an aerial battle.
"That has helped me because I have the understanding of when to play and when not to play.
"If it can't be a pass then it has to go long, over the top. It's easier for me to adapt to their [England's] football than the other way around."
Hill played 35 times for Fleetwood last season as they secured their League One safety with a 15th place finish.
And he has been ever-present for them once more at the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign having already racked up 15 appearances for Simon Grayson's side.
As a result of his progression in the third tier, England U21 coach Carsley believes he is more than ready to compete for his team.
He said: "I thought it was the right time to bring him in with some of the issues we've had at centre-back.
"If you look at our pathway in general, we get a lot of centre-backs from Category One academies. It's very rare that we have players so young at centre-back in their first team getting tested every week against senior players.
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"The feedback we got in the last camp with the Under 20s on was that he was the model professional.
"Watching him play against Wycombe last week was a big test, up against Adebayo Akinfenwa and Sam Vokes.
"Every corner was a physical test for him but he coped really well. He's deserved the opportunity to come and train with us and potentially put himself in consideration."
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