Juan Mata and Ander Herrera at the Street Reds project.

Herrera and Mata's surprise appearance

Manchester United midfielders Ander Herrera and Juan Mata surprised children recently when they joined in with their evening football session.

On a grey and rainy Manchester day, the Spanish stars turned up to a Manchester United Foundation Street Reds project. The session, held at Manchester Health Academy in Wythenshawe, saw the Reds take part in football tennis and a five-a-side game with the local children.

Ander and Juan then sat down with a small group to find out more about their experience of the Street Reds project and the impact football has on their day-to-day lives.

Reds duo's Street Reds visitVideo

Through Street Reds, Manchester United Foundation uses the power of football to give young people aged 8-18 an opportunity to pursue their interest in playing, leading and coaching football.

This community initiative runs throughout the boroughs of Greater Manchester where sessions are free to join and all abilities are welcome.

Speaking about the importance of football sessions like Street Reds, Ander said: “It’s very important; football can help young children avoid certain temptations. I met most of my friends playing football; I think it’s a great opportunity to become a good person and make friends.

“It’s particularly important as many children stay at home and play on their PlayStations or tablets,” agreed Juan. “It’s very important for children to go out, get fresh air and play sports. Football has been the biggest part of my life; I made most of my relationships and friendships through football. It can change your life.”

Juan continued: “The work Manchester United Foundation does is helping the next generation, whether that be through football, education or projects like Street Reds around Greater Manchester.”

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