2014 has been a significant year on both international and domestic fronts for Taylor Moore.
At just 17 years of age, Moore may still be relatively unknown in his homeland but his relative obscurity will soon be shattered as he advances through the England youth ranks.
The start of last year saw Moore continue his development at RC Lens, having moved to France at at the age of seven alongside his family.
Having initially joined a local amateur side, Moore made the move to top-tier side Lens at the age of 12.
His career at the French side so far has seen him combine football and education. The 17-year-old is currently in the ‘formation’ stage of his development. This means that he lives full time at the Lens campus, being taken to and from school, training in the evenings and playing matches on Sundays.
This is the routine youth players usually follow until the age of 18 but for Moore, it has been a little different lately.
Since August last year, the young defender has progressed into Lens’ second side, who play their football in France’s fourth tier, Championnat de France amateur (CFA).
Despite his years, he has become a regular for Lens II, missing just one league game so far this season.
It has been a baptism of fire for the defender as his side currently sit just outside the relegation spots in their division but the experience of senior football will no doubt benefit his development.
Something that has also developed in France has been his language skills. The multilingual centre-back is fluent in French and is also studying Spanish.
His performances have convinced the Lens hierarchy to award him his first professional contract, a three-year deal he signed last month.
Something that may have convinced the Lens staff that he was worthy of a new contract, and a shot in the second team, may have been his performances for England’s youth teams.
Having made his debut for the Three Lions’ U17 side in February last year, Moore was a defensive rock as the young Lions won the 2014 UEFA European Under-17 Championships in Malta last summer. The youngster showed his composure throughout the tournament, no more so than in the final as he fired home from the spot as England defeated Holland on penalties.
After the tournament, he has gone on to establish himself in the U18 national side, as he takes the next step on the England youth team ladder.
2014 has been a real breakthrough year for Taylor Moore. He has achieved recognition at an international level and secured his first ever professional contract. Lens is the perfect place for him to continue his development and although a move back to England could be on the cards at some stage, remaining in France, for now, would seem sensible. This year could be even bigger for the English export.