Blackrock youngster James Dunne has realised every young footballer’s dream by securing a move to English Premier League champions Manchester United.
The 15-year-old Rock Celtic centre-back has been courted by the Red Devils since he was 10 and will sign a four-year deal at Old Trafford when he turns 16 in October.
James will begin life in Manchester next week when he will travel to his digs in Sale, which is based just five miles from United’s Carrington training ground. He will then return to Ireland to say his goodbyes before returning to the UK to begin his football career on September 1.
“It really is a dream come true”, said James. “I’ve been involved with United since I was 10 when I attended one of their academies in Belfast.
“Over the past year they have been explaining the Manchester United system to me and that made me think that I might be in with a chance of actually signing with them.”
James has been to Manchester on a number of occasions since and he feels this will help him settle when he officially makes the move.
“Each time I have been over I have felt more involved and it is a real family club”, he said.
“I don’t know if it has really sank in yet”, he added. “That might all change when I get over there. I just can’t wait. I’m very excited.”
Dunne was also tracked by Aston Villa and Chelsea but his father Eamonn said that United’s approach to James’ education was what swayed the decision.
United officials recently visited the De La Salle, Dunne’s school in Dundalk, to discuss his future education whilst former United stalwart and current academy director Brian McClair also reassured his family that education would be a priority.
“United were miles ahead of other clubs in regards to his education”, said Eamonn. “We were over in Sale recently and we met the principal of his new school and the landlady of the digs he will be staying in. That certainly eases your mind as a parent.”
“Obviously we are very proud of Jimmy”, he added. “We have known about it for some time but we have kept it low key. We wish him the very best of luck.”