Eriksen makes surprise primary school visit

Sunday 31 December 2023 11:00

Christian Eriksen made a surprise visit to Manchester United Foundation’s partner primary school, St Alphonsus, earlier this month – much to the delight of the pupils.

Christian was welcomed by headteacher Tina Birds before visiting a number of classes in an exciting morning for all involved. He sat down with Year 5 students to listen to their reading and help them to choose their next books, before taking part in ‘Goalball’ – an inclusive sport designed for those who have a visual impairment. 

The midfielder later got stuck into playground life with Year 6 pupils and Foundation coaches, throwing dodgeballs and knocking down hula-hoops, leading to beaming smiles across the faces of the young people. The excited children were overjoyed by the sight of the Manchester United first-team player, as they took part in physical activity in line with the Premier League Primary Stars programme, which is delivered across all 28 of the Foundation’s partner primary schools.
After a delightful morning engaging with the youngsters, Christian said: “It’s amazing to be at the school and see all the kids and what they’ve been doing with the Foundation. The children and their parents come to the stadium and watch games, they give encouragement to us on the pitch, so by coming into the local community and meeting the children, it’s a really nice thing to do. It’s very important for me to give back as a Manchester United player – I’m very pleased to be here.”

Headteacher Tina Birds reiterated the impact of the visit: “It has been a wonderful day. Seeing the children’s reactions to Christian Eriksen walking through, participating in the activities that Manchester United Foundation were doing – it was absolutely amazing. I will remember it as a headteacher for a long, long time.
“Working with the Foundation and the Premier League Primary Stars programme is all about bringing communities together and it’s so important for my school that we are part of this community. Working with the Foundation and seeing Christian Eriksen today, it gives the pupils that aspiration that we really instil in school, and that’s what this programme does brilliantly.”

St Alphonsus pupil Siver said: “I felt starstruck, shocked, happy, because he’s a footballer and I like Manchester United; I could never have imagined that. I think it’s important because many people look up to him and everyone admires him.”
Fred the Red even came along for the visit!
Throughout the season, the Foundation will continue its work in partnership with local primary schools aiming to develop and improve the wellbeing and life skills of children aged 5-11. Working alongside the Premier League Primary Stars programme and in line with the national curriculum, the Foundation addresses physical literacy, healthy lifestyles and the broader curriculum.

The feature was filmed for BBC Match of the Day and aired on 31 December 2023 on its morning repeat show.