Rio tips Joe for the big time

Rio Ferdinand with Myerscough football coach Graham Atkinson
Rio Ferdinand with Myerscough football coach Graham Atkinson

THIS is the moment a college football team realised they were being watched by a rather famous talent scout.

And for one of the, Joe Bunney (pictured on far right of the group) things were going to get even more exciting - as he was hand-picked by Manchester United and England star Rio Ferdinand for a shot at the big time.

Ferdinand made a surprise visit to Myerscough College last week to run the rule over the college’s first and second teams as part of a global talent search campaign to find football’s next superstar.

And college and England schools player Joe Bunney was chosen by Ferdinand to go through to the finals of ‘The Chance’, which is sponsored by Nike Football, after impressing with his potential.

The Myerscough College Football Academy was selected by Nike to launch ‘The Chance’ campaign, which is being supported by stars of the game including defender Rio Ferdinand.

Since the launch, a second Myerscough College Footballer, Marley Gough, has also been selected by Nike to join Joe Bunney in ‘The Chance’ finals.

Speaking about Joe Bunney, Rio Ferdinand said: “I’ve been working with Nike on The Chance and had been asked to pick out the first UK finalist.

“Joe instantly caught my eye, he’s a mobile and technically proficient player but it was his attitude that impressed me as much as anything. I’ve no doubt he’s got a lot of potential and I’m sure he can go far in The Chance.”

Being picked as the UK’s first player to compete in The Chance adds to an impressive 2012 already for Bunney, who in February was selected to represent England Schools.

Speaking after the surprise, Bunney said: “I knew nothing about it until Rio turned up at half time and explained why we were there. Then at the end of the match Rio came over and told me that he’d picked me as the first UK player to be selected for The Chance - I couldn’t believe it!’’

With 100 players selected in total for the UK finals, only three will progress to the global finals in Barcelona, where an elite 16-man squad will be selected to form a global ‘Nike Academy’ football team. The Academy side will travel the globe and train with the world’s best coaches and players.