Joe Makin, Man City academy recruitment coordinator
dmg media (UK)
World Cup 2022
I REMEMBER a game he played for Reddish Vulcans. We’d been practising short corners and I wanted us to try them in a match. I said to Phil: ‘Let’s knock a couple of goals in and then we can practise our short corners because it won’t matter if we lose the ball.’ We kicked off and Phil picked up the ball, rounded three players and scored. No celebration, jogged back to the halfway line. We got the ball again, Phil rounded the keeper and walked it into the net. One of the parents said: ‘You’d pay to watch this’. He was seven. At the end of one of the sessions, a dad walked up to me on the touchline and asked: ‘Who’s the little boy with the left foot? Where’s he come from?’ I clasped my hands together, looked up to the sky and said: ‘Heaven.’ He is still the same lad he was then: quiet; humble; unassuming.