Watch our video of Rio Ferdinand scouting at an U18 game on the outskirts of Manchester, to kick off Nike's 'The Chance' campaign to find the world's best unsigned footballing talent.  

"I used to say that if I could play just one minute of professional football, then I’d die a happy person," Rio told the players.

The United defender made notes during the game and, after the final whistle, stepped forward with a golden ticket that would see one player head to 'The Chance' national trials.

It went to the Blues' number 12, a striker who had stood out not just for his technical ability and velvet touch, but for his selfless running and dedication to the cause – for his hunger.

07/03/2012 18:44

Video: Rio begins the search

This week, Nike embarked on an epic six-month journey spanning 55 countries and five different continents. Their mission? To unearth the hungriest young footballers on the planet.

In the UK, scouting duties fall to United defender Rio Ferdinand, who kicked things off by turning up, unannounced, for a half-time team talk at an U18 game in Manchester.

Rio made it clear to both sides what he was looking for: not simply the most technically gifted players, but those who wanted it the most – the hungry generation.

Now the search is on. Rio and his scouts are watching, and it’s down to unsigned footballers across the country to catch their eye. Why? Because an opportunity awaits that could turn a little-known group of ambitious young players into tomorrow's heroes.

Rio has chosen his first candidate, but who will be next? Visit on Friday to see who Chris Smalling selected at an Elite Training event in Manchester on Wednesday.

For more information on how to get involved in ‘The Chance’, visit


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