Welwyn Garden City 12-year-old to star at Champions League Final

PUBLISHED: 16:43 27 May 2011 | UPDATED: 16:54 27 May 2011

Josh Clancy

Josh Clancy

Archant

RYAN Giggs, Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Andres Iniesta will all be gracing the hallowed Wembley turf at tomorrow (Saturday) night's Champions League Final.

And joining the footballing superstars will be Josh Clancy, WGC’s teenage freestyle whizzkid who will be kicking off the opening ceremony.

Manchester United versus Barcelona, the repeat of the 2009 final in Rome which saw the Spanish giants lift the trophy, is being billed as one of the biggest ever European ties.

However, before the likes of Carles Puyol, Paul Scholes, Xavi, Edwin Van der Sar and David Villa do battle, 12-year-old Josh, the UK’s youngest professional football freestyler, will be at the forefront of the massive opening ceremony.

Not only will Josh be performing in front of the 90,000 capacity crowd, but also an estimated 300 million TV viewers who will be able to see his biggest ever gig live around 10 minutes before the 7.45pm kick-off.

The Welwyn Hatfield Times caught up with the Stanborough School keepy-uppie king this week, who was surprisingly laid back about his upcoming top-secret act.

“I’m really looking forward to it. My biggest thing so far was playing at Stevenage at half-time but this is a bit bigger than that,” the Thistle Grove resident said.

Josh first caught the eye when he appeared in the Welwyn Hatfield Times, aged just 10.

We featured a story of how he had entered a keepy-uppie competition on Steven Gerrard’s Performance Challenge website to win Barclays Premier League VIP match tickets.

Unfortunately he was unsuccessful.

However, an appeal for an agent in the paper proved fruitful.

And since being signed up with Sprint Management Josh has gone on to much bigger and better things – the last of which was performing for the Olympic Committee on Tuesday night.

His portfolio also includes being the star of a Robinsons Fruit Shoot advert and providing entertainment for the Christmas lights switch on at Hatfield and WGC.

The modest former Springmead Primary School pupil, who first learnt his skills – which includes being able to do 4,000 kick ups – when he joined the Brazilian Soccer School, in Hatfield, seems to have just taken it all in his stride.

His mum Hayley said: “He’s a normal lad, no different to any of his friends or anything. If you did not know him well, you would never know that he is doing all these kinds of things.

“His feet are very much on the ground and he doesn’t let any of this go to his head.”

Dad Bill, who chaperones Josh, said: “We’re just so proud of him.

“The Olympics Committee performance the other night went down a storm and after seeing the rehearsal at Wembley last night (Thursday) I know it is going to be amazing.

“We knew he was part of the entertainment, but to actually be leading the opening ceremony is just fantastic.”

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