Skilful Smith so close at Man Utd

Cayman’s hot shot striker Oliver Smith had a fabulous time and impressed the Manchester United coaches last week when he took a trip to Old Trafford to display his skills.

The 11-year-old Future SC striker won a Man Utd Skill Challenge in the summer when he was in a one-week camp in England. That qualified him for a final skills test before Man Utd’s home game against Blackburn on 10 November.

Smith came fourth out of 50 which is no mean feat because most of the others were much older. The winner was a 16-year-old from Seattle, Washington, so the Caymanian did exceptionally well.

The winner was awarded a trip to a summer camp at the Italian club Juventus. Smith was very nervous performing in front of thousands although the stadium didn’t reach its 76,000 capacity until just before kick off.

His mum Suzanne said: ‘Oliver was so thrilled. I think losing to someone so much older was no disgrace. All the finalists were blended together. I thought there should have been two age groups. He was one of the youngest there. He didn’t get a prize but he’s planning to go back next year. Oliver has a team-mate at Future and they’re planning to go together. He’s keen to do it again. I’d say it’s only added to his enthusiasm for the game.

‘It was an hour before the kick off so there weren’t that many people in the stadium but you certainly felt the presence of the crowd. One of the goalkeepers came out to practice and as soon as that head appeared out of the tunnel they started applauding. That’s when I really felt what Oliver was going through.’

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