A Lancashire schoolgirl has described signing for Manchester United as “a dream come true”.
Goalkeeper Imogen Maguire, who attends St Michael’s High School in Chorley, opted to sign for United Under-16s despite interest from Liverpool and Everton.
The 14-year-old shot-stopper started her football career at Euxton Girls when she was seven, before moving to Bolton-based Academy Juniors in 2015, where she helped the team win three league titles and three cups.
Maguire impressed at end-of-season trials for United, Liverpool and Everton, which are all Regional Talent Clubs (RTCs), before choosing United.
She said: “It was a dream come true to sign for United because they’re the team I support.
“I watched my first game at Old Trafford against Tottenham in 2013 so to sign my contract at the same stadium was very special.
“My goal at the start of the season was to play my best for Academy Juniors and get into an RTC.
“I had a brilliant coach at Academy Juniors called Emma Thompson and she encouraged me to be the best I could be so I went for trials at Lancashire Under-14s and I was one of two goalkeepers out of 12 to be selected.
“It was really good for me because it made me realise the areas of my game that I needed to work on, especially around footwork, distribution and playing a high line.”
The teenager said her next “lucky break” was being invited to train for eight weeks at the end of the season with Everton.
“Everton’s goalkeeping coach Paul Delahunty was brilliant and improved my all-round game, especially my positioning, technique and talking. I can’t thank him enough because it really helped me at the RTC trials.
“Everton and Liverpool were really good to me but I picked United because I think they’re the best club for me right now.
“My ambition is to be a professional footballer but I don’t want to look too far ahead.”
Dad Chris said: “What I’m most proud of is her attitude. When she chose United the first thing she did was phone the goalkeeping coach at Everton to explain her decision and write letters to Everton and Liverpool.”
Academy Juniors’ coach Thompson said: “It’s a fitting reward for all the hard work Imogen has put in.”