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Morgan Schneiderlin and Ashley Young surprise girls development session

Manchester United stars Ashley Young and Morgan Schneiderlin recently surprised a group of students at Levenshulme High School for a Girls Football Week session.

| by Haylee Blease

Young and Schneiderlin spent their time taking part in drills and chatting to excited students about their footballing skills and school life.

Year 10 student Saarah couldn’t hide her excitement and said: “We were just in shock because we’re massive United fans, it was unbelievable. We just thought it was going to be a normal session and never thought that we would be playing with Ashley Young and Morgan Schneiderlin!”

Schneiderlin praised the session and said: “Girls football is really positive, I’m always surprised by their technique and their approach to the game. Two or three players today have impressed me with good shots and good technique; it’s nice to see them just enjoying it with their friends.”

The session is just one of many that the Foundation’s Girls’ Development Programme offers in local schools and colleges across Greater Manchester with the ultimate aim of getting more girls playing football on a regular basis.

Year 10 student Karam has been attending the Premier League session every week since it started in 2013 and said: “It’s really important that it’s held in an all-girls environment as this boosts us all. We’re playing a typically male dominated sport and to do that just speaks for itself really it’s just incredible.”

Foundation girls coach Hannah Mitchell, who herself played for Manchester United Girls as a youngster and is now a full-time member of staff, explained the challenges she faced to get the session started: “We’ve run this session for the last three years through the Premier League Girls programme. The first year was very tough with plenty of challenges; we had to gain trust and respect with the girls and their parents to make it work. We did a few sessions with teachers, parents and family members to break down any participation barriers.”

She added: “The girls have come a long way and now actually lead this session. They coach it and I can step back and watch all the amazing things they’re doing.”