HE is, literally, stepping into giant shoes.
But the task of playing soccer for a country that idolised his grandad is not likely to faze young Huddersfield Town star Jake Charles.
The 15-year-old left-sided midfielder is the grandson of the legendary John Charles – the man labelled Il Gigante Buono, the Gentle Giant.
He had a glittering career with clubs including, notably, Leeds United and Juventus, and is regarded by many as the finest player ever to wear the red of Wales.
Now Jake is to represent his country at Under 17 level after selection for two matches against Sweden next week.
“He’s a very level-headed teenager,” said proud dad Mel, who will be in Wales on Tuesday to see Jake line up for his country at Buckley Town.
“He loves his football but he also knows how important his schoolwork is and he is looking ahead to his GCSE exams next year.”
Jake first kicked a ball at the age of three in the car park of The Airedale Heifer, the pub his dad runs in Stocks Bank Road, Mirfield.
He went to Battyeford CE Primary School and signed for Battyeford Juniors, one of the biggest clubs in the RCD Junior League.
He then moved on to Garforth Community College and signed up for local junior side Garforth Villa.
It was then that he was spotted by Huddersfield Town scouts and Jake was signed up for the club’s Academy at the age of 10.
He has been with the Academy ever since and last month made his debut for Graham Mitchell’s Under 18 side in a 4-0 win over Middlesbrough.
He has represented Wales at Under 15 level but the new call-up means a first chance at Under 17 level – two years above his age group – for manager Brian Flynn.
It also means he follows grandfather John and two other members of the Charles’ football dynasty – Mel Charles and Jeremy Charles – on to the international scene.
His dad Mel (a non-footballer) said: “His grandad would have been enormously proud, as I am.
“I remember him first kicking a ball in the pub car park and his first games with Battyeford.
“He has done really well. He is a strong left-sided player who wears Number 11.
“The selection for the Under 17 is brilliant news. Wales are playing two games against Sweden, on Tuesday and Thursday, and he is looking forward to joining up with the squad on Sunday.
“He has had a busy season as he played for the Under 16s side in Belgium against Belgium and Switzerland a few weeks ago.
“But he is aware of how important his schoolwork is and the people at Garforth Community College have been brilliant. They have given him homework to take with him when he is away on football tours and he will get on with his studies.
“John would have been so proud. My uncle Mel and cousin Jeremy were also great players and I’m so proud he is keeping the family name involved”.
His Huddersfield boss Lee Clark is just as convinced the young midfielder can follow in the footsteps of John, Mel and Jeremy.
“It is a big ask for a kid of 14 to face up to 17-year-olds, but this is a fantastic opportunity for Jake, and we are all really proud of him”, said Clark.
“He’s still growing, and though he is a big lad in his own age group, he’s not going to look it alongside the Swedish boys.
“But he does seem able to take things in his stride. His grandad was one of the top players of his generation, and he seems to have picked up some of his attributes”.
John Charles was born in Swansea in December 1931.
He died in February 2004
He was renowned as both a defender and a centre-forward
Charles played for Swansea but then made his name with Leeds United and Juventus
His transfer to Juventus was for a then record fee of £65,000
It was in Italy he earned the nickname Il Gigante Buono, or The Gentle Giant
Charles made 38 appearances for Wales