Remy Miller was once invited for a kickabout on Wayne Rooney’s back lawn – but it’s on fairways and putting greens where he now wants to make his name.
England boys’ squad player Miller will never forget the day he joined his mate for an impromptu game of football in the former Manchester United and England captain’s garden.
It remains a treasured memory for teenager Miller – especially since the Cheshire county player is a dyed-in-the-wool Red Devils’ supporter.
For Miller, though, football has taken a back seat as he works towards his golfing goals in 2020.
These include registering a win in one of the England Golf championships as well as representing his country at Home Internationals and European team events.
“It was touch and go what I was better at – football or golf. I eventually opted for golf,” admitted Miller who turned 18 last week and is a member at Prestbury and Tytherington golf clubs.
“I just loved golf more.
“I captained every sporting team I played for and I love being around a team environment and trying to motivate.
“I’m comfortable in a team and enjoy it a lot and that’s why getting the chance to represent England at golf means so much to me.
“The Rooney thing was amazing at the time – especially as I’m a United fan.
“My mate Alex was a neighbour of the Rooneys and the families were friendly. Alex’s dad wanted an envelope delivered to them.
“Wayne was playing footy in the garden with his kids and said ‘do you fancy a kickabout lads?’
“He was still at United and was England captain – he was fairly tidy!
“I tried my best with a few long shots from 30 yards with the left foot. I pulled one decent finish off in an hour. I can accept that in front of Wazza!
“I also played rugby at county level until I was 14, but golf is my sport now and I’m working hard to achieve my aims.”
Miller’s progress from the regional squads in the north west to full England level should come as no surprise to anyone who knows the family pedigree.
Father Brian played rugby at national level and mum Alison excelled as a synchronised swimmer.
Miller is thankful for the sporting genes in his family even if his parents’ nationality has caused some laughs when he pulls on the white shirt of England.
“Dad was a national player until under 21 level at rugby union,” added Miller.
“My mum was a synchronised swimmer and from what she tells me she was useful.
“My mum and dad are from Ayrshire, but I was born in England. There’s no question I’m English!
“It makes for a good atmosphere when the football or rugby is on and there’s a Scotland v England clash.
“My first ever game for England was an under 16 match against Scotland in Montrose and I loved every minute of it.
“Before I went out my dad said to me: “I don’t know who to support!”
“I think he wanted me to win. I hope so!”
In 2019, Miller made steady progress without achieving the breakthrough win he craved.
“I’d give the season six or seven out of 10,” added Miller who earned a top five finish at the Fairhaven Trophy.
But the hard graft he’s putting in on and off the course bodes well for 2020.
As well as working with coaches Rob Watts and Mike Kanski on his technique and putting stroke he’s also enjoyed time with Andrew Cruickshank on the mental side of his game.
“I want to gain in all areas,” confirmed Miller who first picked up a club at the age of two.
“I’ve done a lot of work with Mike on my alignment and pace of putts and I look forward to putting that into practise. It all makes sense in my head now.
“The mental side is definitely a massive side of it. I like when the situation is intense. If not, I can relax too much and become a bit clumsy.
“When it’s intense I have to be in the moment and having to do well suits me rather than looking to do well.
“I’ve done some work with Andrew on this and I’ve enjoyed working with him too.
“Now I’m desperate for a win in one of the big boys’ events, the men’s events in 2020.
“I like being in contention with a chance to win. That’s the main objective for this year.
“I’d like to play well in the British boys’ too because it’s a tournament I’ve played in for a few years.
“Last year I deserved to make the cut and missed it, hopefully the 2020 season will be strong.”