Business is booming.

Bowen's so proud of his rags to riches tale as West Ham winger vows to take 'another step up'

Jarrod Bowen sat in his father’s battered old truck, the wheels falling off, held together by memories. The one who now fills with tears.

Sam Bowen once drove his young lad to games in Hereford in that old truck. And it was in that old truck, in May, that father and son were enjoying the news that Jarrod Bowen was on the England squad.

“He cried his eyes out,” said West Ham winger Bowen. “He said, ‘I can’t believe it, this is the truck we used to go to local games. Now look, you just got a call from England. I can’t take my hat off to you enough.”

West Ham United winger Jarrod Bowen knows he needs to start the season strong

West Ham United winger Jarrod Bowen knows he needs to start the season strong

“He said he didn’t think I would be in an English squad this early. Seven years is a long time, but if you look at where I’ve come from, from playing for Hereford in the Conference, evicting them and leaving for Hull. Fast forward five or six years. He says, “I just can’t believe it”. It was an emotional moment, I had to go outside for a while.’

Bowen’s call-up was the reward for a stellar season for West Ham, with his 12 goals and 10 assists being the most of any English midfielder in the Premier League. He knows he will have to start just as strong this season, starting on Sunday against Manchester City, if he is to maintain his spot for the World Cup in Qatar.

The official announcement of the selection in May came at 2 p.m. Bowen found out in the morning and told his father on the phone a few hours later, unable to keep him in suspense any longer when Bowen, his girlfriend, his brother, boyfriend and sister all went for lunch at The Flying Dutchman cafe in Leominster. Each time he tried, the conversation lasted only a few seconds.

“I called and told him and he just said, ‘I’ll talk to you later.’ I could see he was just in pieces. He did it about five times. He kept answering the phone and said “Hello?” As soon as I asked him if he was okay, as soon as I said he was okay, he just…’

1659839438 121 Bowen039s so proud of his rags to riches tale as

1659839438 121 Bowen039s so proud of his rags to riches tale as

Premier League streak of 12 goals and 10 assists was the English midfielder’s best last season

But it wasn’t just Bowen’s father who struggled to control his emotions. “There were people in the little cafe looking around and wondering what this whole thing is going through. Everyone was crying. I couldn’t eat, I felt so sick. My brother walked out of the restaurant when I told him. There were tears everywhere.’

That’s how much it meant to the family from a small Herefordshire town. What would it be like if he goes to the World Cup?

‘Pff, I don’t know. Where we come from, it’s a real small community. To be a role model for people who play soccer at home, people I’ve never spoken to before, “We are so proud of you, our little boys love you”. That’s what it means to me, making a difference to people at home.’

Bowen saw England start the 1-0 defeat in Hungary and played in all four games this summer. “The first time I put on the shirt was special,” Bowen says. And also have the opportunity to play. It was my first team. I knew some of the guys, of course Dec (Declan Rice) and a few others. You are like a new child at school, you do not know what is going on and you have to get used to your environment. That first time I put on a shirt was a very proud moment.’

He didn’t win an England shirt, but he has returned to West Ham this season with his chest out and his confidence high. It exposed him to some extra chatter in the locker room, though.

Bowen's call-up to England was the reward for his stunning form for West Ham last season

Bowen's call-up to England was the reward for his stunning form for West Ham last season

Bowen’s call-up to England was the reward for his stunning form for West Ham last season

‘Me and Dec were talking and the boys said ‘Oh look out, it’s the English guys together!’ he laughs. “But they all buzzed for me.”

But with all this comes higher expectation. You can even tell, he says, from the rising price of his fantasy football. ‘My hairdresser told me I’ve gone up £2million so that’s a lot of pressure in itself! I didn’t pick myself in my team, that’s for sure.

“Last season was a good step for me, so this season is another step to do the same again. As I challenge myself, I want to be at the next level and keep going, because there’s more to come.”

Not just for him, but for West Ham too. He wants to keep aiming for those top six and make finals in domestic trophies and in Europe.

Bowen calls the next three months “massive” with the swelling of the World Cup in sight. “Being on that squad made me want everything ten times more. I want to be in the selection in September and then the World Cup. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about the World Cup.

“This season is all about making even more progress. It’s about not taking your foot off the gas. Every step is forward. Keep breaking those barriers and aiming for the stars.

“It comes down to the person I am, my motivation and breaking down barriers and everything in my way to get where I want to be. I can say I did because I’m from the conference, I don’t have a club, the love and the passion to go on and on and on and things fall into place.”

.