Photos (Top to Bottom): Max Clarkem Jackson Nugent and Nick Morton with Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney; Some of the Tasmanian youngsters with Wayne Rooney outside Old Trafford; Wayne Rooney and Nick Morton [Photos courtesy of Victoria Woods]; Seven of the players who went on the tour (L-R), Max Clarke, Charlie Wilkes, Jackson Nugent, Josh Quigley, Sam Ross, Nick Morton and Nick Becker at South Hobart after their return; Ken Morton and seven of the players who went on tour at a South Hobart pitch that certainly does not resemble the Carrington training pitches of Manchester United [PlessPix]
Ken Morton and his academy boys have returned home after a very successful trip to Manchester.
The boys played three matches against local youth sides and won all three.
They beat Stockport Youth 3-0, Irlam 4-2 and Denton 4-1.
They also trained at The Cliff and at Carrington, which are Manchester United’s training grounds.
The youngsters attended Manchester United’s home game against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
One of the highlights for the boys was meeting Wayne Rooney and having a chat to the England international.
“The trip was good and it was a great learning experience,” said Max Clarke.
“There were lots of highlights, including our training at Carrington, watching the game at Old Trafford and meeting Wayne Rooney.”
Twelve-year-old Charlie Wilkes said the trip was a learning experience and it was also a lot of fun.
“Watching the game against West Brom and seeing Wayne Rooney were the highlights for me,” Wilkes said.
“The academy was pretty good, too. I liked the good grounds, which were good to play on, and the coach we had [Paul Gray] was good, too.”
Centre-back Jackson Nugent, 14, was also impressed with what he learned on the trip.
“Meeting Wayne Rooney was a highlight for me, and also training at Carrington,” Nugent said.
“I didn’t ask Wayne Rooney any questions as I was too scared, but he seemed friendly enough and looked very fit, but small.
“He was much smaller than I expected him to be. He was smaller than me.”
Josh Quigley, 15, who plays as a central defensive midfielder, said the game at Old Trafford was one of the highlights of his trip.
“Just being there for such a high-intensity game and the crowd was great,” said Quigley. “It was pretty cool, and so different to South Hobart.”
Sam Ross said it was a wonderful trip and it was great to train at Carrington.
“There were many pitches at Carrington for different age groups and the surfaces were good,” said Ross.
“The coaching was good, too, and I enjoyed it. I learned lots of new stuff.
“It was very different in how we put things into one v one and two v two situations, and the coaches were very experienced.”
Nick Morton, 14, thought the trip was very good and he said he had learned a great deal.
“It was a good experience,” Morton said. “The pitches were so much better than we have here.
“It would be magnificent to try and get to play at a professional level.
“The coach, Paul Gray, was really nice and helped us a lot.
“We worked on passing, finishing, heading, fitness and lots of other basic stuff.”
Goalkeeper Nick Becker, 14, said the trip was very good.
“I enjoyed it and one of the highlights for me was the game,” Becker said. “But, everything was good, really.
“I didn’t get to meet Edwin van der Sar.
“When we did shooting, I got a lot out of that.”
This exercise by Morton Soccer Schools seems like becoming an annual event, but other links have also been established with the likes of Newcastle United.
It can only get bigger and better for some Tasmanian youngsters.