FORMER coaches of Manchester United debutant Tom Lawrence have been reminiscing about his early playing days.
The 20-year-old Wrexham-born midfielder, who hails from Penyffordd, proved to be one of United's new kids on the block when he ran out at Old Trafford for the first time in a first team game on Tuesday night.
The former Penyffordd Junior and Castell Alun High School pupil helped the Red Devils to a 3-1 win over FA Cup finalists Hull City in United's penultimate Premier League game of the season.
Lawrence has been on the books of the Old Trafford giants since he was eight-years-old and was part of their FA Youth Cup winning squad in 2011.
He even had the honour of being replaced by United legend and former Welsh international Ryan Giggs, who is the club’s caretaker manager.
Cledwyn Ashford, chairman of the Welsh Schools Football Association, who coached Lawrence during his Flintshire Primary Schoolboys days, told the Leader the youngster always showed he was destined for a bright future in the game.
“Tom was a very, very good player indeed,” Mr Ashford said. “Whenever he played he made a big difference.
“He was capable of changing a game and had plenty of self belief. He was fast, skillful and could influence things on the pitch. It was great to see him develop. He always had a bright future and he showed lots of determination when he was young.”
Lawrence was one of a select few players to have been chosen to represent Flintshire Primary Schoolboys for two years, following in the footsteps of stars Gary Speed, Michael Owen and Ryan Shawcross.
After Tuesday’s match Lawrence tweeted: “Wow what a feeling that was tonight and loved every minute of it!”
He also told of his pride at being “replaced by a legend like Giggs”.
Paul Edwards, assistant head at the Castell Alun School in Hope, said: “We are always thrilled when one of our students aspires to such a great level of success and the Castell Alun team is honoured to have played a role in helping Tom and his family to achieve their dreams.
“It was clear from a very early age that he was a most gifted player and we wish him every success in the future."
See full story in the Leader