CLUB NEWS

Alex Hurst, a worthy winner of the 2011 MUSS World Skills Final, picks up his award from Bryan Robson at half-time in the match against Norwich.

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04/10/2011 10:34, Report by Adam Marshall
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Youngster lands top prize

Alex Hurst beat off all-comers to win the Manchester United Soccer Schools World Skills Final at the Trafford Training Centre in Carrington and collect his award from Bryan Robson at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The schoolboy, who won his place at a MUSS residential course at Denstone College, outshone the other finalists, even though the overall standard was incredibly high, as the 8 to 16-year-olds were tested on various aspects of their technique.

Hopefuls from all over the planet were invited to the special event after winning the individual prizes at the club's Soccer Schools in England and abroad.

"I'm very excited," Alex, from Stoke-on-Trent, told ManUtd.com. "I didn't think I'd win it and become number one out of 10,000 people who entered.

"I wasn't nervous, I just wanted to enjoy it and do my best - and I did that."

Control was Alex's best field as the youngsters were put through their paces in drills involving lofted passes, short passing, dribbling and finishing. But it was the overall quality on show that most impressed former United ace Quinton Fortune. "Listen, I'm trying to remember back when I was that age," he insisted. "Was I even capable of doing that stuff? It's just amazing. I wanted to show them the step-over but they've already got that and something else in their locker!"

First-team coach Rene Meulensteen explained the philosophy behind the programme, which was enjoyed by the children and parents alike. "A very important part of the club is getting kids involved in the Manchester United experience and engaging them," he stressed. "Really, the level is that good because they're doing sensible and good things instead of mere enjoyment. The ones who have good ability will take something away from it."

The youngsters enjoyed a session on the Theatre of Dreams pitch before the win over Norwich and watched the first-team

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