The West Bromwich Albion match may not have gone to plan earlier this month, but it’s doubtful even the Baggies’ two-goal comeback could take the smile off the face of one youngster inside Old Trafford that afternoon.
Arnors Gauti Brynjolfsson, aged 11 and from Iceland, was Manchester United Soccer Schools’ 2010 World Skills Final winner. The youngster, who qualified for the final by scoring well in skills tests on a Soccer Schools coaching course in Dubai earlier this year, saw off 20 other young players at the first team's Trafford Training Centre, Carrington to win the overall award.
Each year, youngsters coached on Soccer Schools courses at Denstone College in Staffordshire – and all around the world – are tested on the skills they’re taught. The top scorers are then invited to compete in Manchester in the final.
After demonstrating his skills with fellow finalists on the pitch prior to kick-off against West Brom, and having been presented with his trophy by Sir Bobby Charlton at half-time, Arnors was understandably delighted with his success.
“I didn’t expect to win, I hoped I might, but it’s an amazing feeling,” said the Icelandic youngster.
“We got to train with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and that was really fun and he was really friendly. We also met the Man United players and got to play on the [Old Trafford] pitch with many people watching us. The favourite player I met was Chicharito.
Getting my award from (Sir) Bobby Charlton in front of everyone was great.”
Manchester United Soccer Schools’ UK and Ireland programme manager, Mike Neary, was impressed by the quality of this year’s finalists, saying: “All the finalists showed an excellent attitude towards practising and playing which sets a great example to other young players.”