A DEDICATED and lucky young football player is off to Manchester United’s pre-academy after being talent spotted.

Eight-year-old Stephan Reynolds, of Crosby, turned the heads of talent spotters when taking part in a football club in Manchester. Stephan, who plays for Workington Reds Under 9s and takes part in Cumbria Football Academy, was on a city break at the time.

His mum Jessica said: “He was there for three days, and at the end they pulled us to one side and said that some scouts had been around and they were interested in trialling him.”

The scouts wanted Stephan to trial for Manchester City, Manchester United and Stoke City Football Club. It was a dream come true for the prospect, who is a huge United fan.

Stephan’s Workington Reds coach Mal O’Hara was pleased to see his hard work paying off, saying: “He is really dedicated – he comes to every training session.”

And he believes Stephan has a bright future come what may.

“Technically he’s a really good player, he can hold his own against most people."

Stephan’s family will move to Preston in June to be closer to the academy.

Jessica said: “It’s been a big decision but we were selling our house anyway, it came at the right time. We thought ‘we’ll give it a go and see how he gets on'.”

Stephan is an experienced player beyond his years, and has been playing football since the age of four. With the Cumbria Football Academy he receives guidance from first team Reds boss Danny Grainger.

Jessica said that Stephan’s selection is a testament to what Cumbrian athletes can achieve.

“It gives hope to other players – you never know," he said.

Stephan has already visited the club training ground at Carrington, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Marcus Rashford, and has been staying fit and sharp whilst on lockdown. Said mum Jessica: “He’s out every day. Whether it’s jogging around the village or practising in the garden, he’s very committed.”