Rio hands Bunney Chance of lifetime

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THE profile of young Lancaster City striker Joe Bunney continues to rise after he was selected by England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand for a competition to find the best young footballing talent in the world.

Nike chose Myerscough College, where Bunney is a student and City assistant boss Phil Brown is Football Development Centre Manager, to launch talent search The Chance in the UK.

Joe Bunney is picked by Rio Ferdinand as the first player to compete in Nike's global talent search The Chance.

Joe Bunney is picked by Rio Ferdinand as the first player to compete in Nike's global talent search The Chance.

Ferdinand arrived unannounced to a college training match before selecting Dolly Blues and England Schoolboys hotshot Bunney as the first player in the UK to progress.

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!

“I felt really privileged to be honest, especially as I was picked by someone like Rio who plays at the highest level in the game.

Rio Ferdinand watches on before selecting Joe Bunney as the stand out player.

Rio Ferdinand watches on before selecting Joe Bunney as the stand out player.

“For Rio to pick me from the 21 other lads on the pitch means I must be doing the right things. I know I’ve got a long way to go to make the final 16 but I’m really looking forward to it.”

One hundred players will be selected for the UK finals with only three progressing to the global finals in Barcelona, where a 16-man squad will be selected for a Nike Academy team, which will travel around the world and train with the world’s best professional teams, as well as competing against the most prestigious academy sides from across the world.

Ferdinand said: “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.”

The project was launched with a You Tube video featuring Bunney and several other City players who also play for Myerscough. The video can be seen by searching “Nike Football: The Chance: Rio Ferdinand’s First Find” at www.youtube.com.