Young Flintshire goalkeeper to face Spanish legends

Reporter:

Matt Jones

TALENTED ten-year-old goalkeeper Jack Atkinson will get the chance to line up against Real Madrid.

Jack, who won the player of the year award for the Under 10’s team at Everton FC’s academy  will face the Spanish giants’ academy team during tournaments on European soil.

Jack, of Pontblyddyn and a pupil at Leeswood’s Ysgol Derwenfa, will travel to Majorca with the academy side this week to play against Real Madrid and will then travel to Paris the week after where they will play against a host of top academy sides.

He said: “Playing against Real Madrid will be one of the best experiences of my life.

“I’m really looking forward to going on tour. The academy is great, it is really good and I feel like I am progressing as a player. I’d give it 10 out of 10.”

Parents John and Jayne, a nurse at Wrexham’s Maelor Hospital, take Jack to the club’s training ground at Finch Farm, Speke, six times a week.

John, who works in property rental, said: “We are very proud of him. Football has always been his life. It was totally unexpected that he got the player of the year award.

“The academy team play against all the Premiership academies within an hour and a half drive and go out on tours.”

Jack, who lists his favourite players as keepers Tim Howard, Shay Given and Petr Cech, will return to the academy next year and play for the Under 11s side.

He said: “When they said I’d been named player of the year everyone was pointing at me and they were over the moon for me. I shook Tim Cahill’s hand and Jack Rodwell was there as well.”

Despite his skills between the posts Jack first started as an outfield player.

He said: “I played in defence or midfield, but then I gave it a try in goal and I made all these saves. They asked if I wanted to be the goalkeeper for Penyffordd and it just went from there.

“I would definitely want to do this professionally. If not I’d like to be a PE teacher in a secondary school. Football is my life.”

See full story in the Leader

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