Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder Anderson and, fellow countryman, Raphael da Silva stopped off at The Cliff Training Ground in Salford, where children aged between 6 and 16 were taking part in a week-long summer holiday course run by Manchester United Foundation.
The pair joined in with the packed training session, helping to demonstrate passing drills, dribbling and ball control, and taking part in a head-to-head team skills competition, from which Rafael’s team emerged victorious.
One of the budding footballers to enjoy a kick-about with the players was 11 year-old Tom from Sale: “It was really fun today. We did some dribbling round cones with the players and then we got to ask them some questions at the end. The holiday courses are really good and I’ve played here with my brother every year.”
14 year-old Louise from Bury added, “It was really good to meet the players, I’m going to go and tell my friends all about it. I came on the courses last year and the year before and I think I will come next year too. It’s really fun and much better than just staying at home.”
To finish, the players signed and awarded certificates to the youngsters and answered questions on what it is like to play for Manchester United
“It was good to visit to help the kids,” said Rafael. “You can see they’re happy and it’s an honour to play our part.”
Anderson, who was inspired by similar player visits from his childhood in Brazil, added, “I remember we’d have days like this sometimes when players would come to communities and join in with training sessions. It can make a big difference and inspire you to train even harder. Seeing footballers when you’re that age can have a big impact on you, when I was the same age I looked up to people like Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo. To be close to them was a dream.”