Tom Eastman wants to follow in the footsteps of Ian Westlake by becoming the next professional footballer from Clacton.

The 16-year-old has just been offered a two-year apprenticeship at Ipswich Town - the same club that Westlake made his name with before moving on to Leeds United.

In a strange twist, Eastman knows Westlake well, attends his old school - Clacton County High School - and, like the midfielder, used to be involved with Clacton Swimming Club.

In another bizarre coincidence, his family home is in the town's Eastcliff Avenue - a couple of doors away from the Westlakes.

Eastman, a centre-half, told the Gazette: "Ian's an inspiration in terms of what happened to him and where his career has taken him.

"Hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.

"Finding out about the apprenticeship was great news and very exciting.

"I've been with the club since I was seven and progressed through the various youth teams.

"But it was between me and one other player for the last apprenticeship spot - and they gave it to me."

Clacton-born Westlake made 133 appearances for Ipswich between 2002 and 2006, scoring 19 goals.

He then moved on to Leeds in August 2006.