The Reds number one attended a Manchester United Foundation Street Reds
session at Old Trafford Sports Barn, where young people enjoy football coaching and alternative activities twice a week in the shadow of the Theatre of Dreams.
During the session De Gea took part in a goalkeeping workshop, demonstrating skills to the participants, before overseeing a penalty shootout and giving tips. He then answered questions from the awe-inspired crowd, revealing the toughest opponents he has played against is a toss-up between Messi, Ronaldo and Aguero and if he wasn’t one of the world’s top goalkeepers he would have gone to university and studied for a career.
Manchester United Foundation runs Street Reds programmes for young people aged 8-18 run at nine locations across Greater Manchester. The projects take place in disadvantaged areas with the aim of engaging hard to reach young people at times when they may otherwise become involved in anti-social behaviour.
12-year-old Mark has been attending the Old Trafford project for five years and enthused about the sessions: “I love United and it’s free so it’s a great opportunity. I’ve made new friends and I’ve improved a lot and am more motivated,” he said. “David de Gea is one of my favourite players so I was really happy when he turned up and I wouldn’t have seen it coming. He did some goalkeeper coaching with us and showed us what we need to do and it was really good fun; just seeing him was amazing.”
Following the visit the Spanish stopper commented, “To see the kids playing together and enjoying the sport is fantastic and a pleasure for me. It’s really good for the kids; when you are young and meet a player or someone you look up to it’s unbelievable.”
Street Reds run 48 weeks of the year and offer young people aged 8-18 the opportunity to learn new skills and work towards leadership qualifications in a supportive and positive environment.
Foundation coach Luke Ross, who runs the Trafford project, said, “To have David come down to interact with the participants and take time out of his day to get involved in the session is excellent. Most of them are star-struck and can’t really believe it; they weren’t prepped or told there would be a visit so it’s been mind-blowing. It’s an amazing experience and I can only imagine how the youngsters are feeling now.”