Football’s rising star

PUBLISHED: 14:52 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 09:52 12 August 2010

A TALENTED young footballer has come one step closer to achieving his dream of playing for one of the world s top clubs. Welling United

A TALENTED young footballer has come one step closer to achieving his dream of playing for one of the world's top clubs.

Welling United midfielder Ben Greenhalgh, from Orpington, impressed the Inter Milan youth coaches Marco Monti and Paolo Migliavacca and has been selected to become one of the final 10 in the SKY1 HD programme Football's Next Star.

The 17-year-old, of Tubbenden Lane, flew to Italy in September where he spent one month filming to prove he has what it takes to win a coveted contract with Jose Mourinho's Italian champions.

The results will be revealed in weekly programmes on Sky1HD, the next being this Sunday at 8pm.

He said: "It's really exciting. I have always wanted to be a footballer. I started playing at the age of four but only started to take it seriously from the age of 15. My family are all really proud of me but are taking it one step at a time."

The programme will show the young star and the other nine contestants living in a luxury villa beside Lake Como, learning the language, immersing themselves in the culture and integrating themselves with the Inter Milan youth team.

They will receive top tips from football legends like Luis Figo, Patrick Vieira and Jose Mourinho himself and will also be mentored by former Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspurs and England star Jamie Redknapp.

The former Darrick Wood School pupil added: "Jamie gave me lots of confidence, he was saying things like 'How have you not been noticed?' I built up a good relationship with him. The competition was very intense. There was a great deal of pressure to play well in front of the film crew and all the coaches."

Speaking about the Italian style of football, he said: "It is a slower, more technical game which I enjoy playing instead of the quicker more physical English style.

The finalists will be put through their paces at Inter Milan's world-famous academy Interello where the coaches will be constantly assessing their skills, scrutinising every pass, tackle and goal.

Each week the player who fails to impress Inter coach Marco Monti will be shown the red card and their dream of playing for Inter Milan will be shattered.

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