Whitehead boy secures trial with Real Madrid

Mark Norris joined Linfield Academy last year
Mark Norris joined Linfield Academy last year
  • Linfield Academy player spotted on YouTube
  • Young midfielder off to Madrid in May
  • Mark is rarely without a football and works extremely hard - dad

A Whitehead boy, chasing his dream of becoming a professional footballer, has been handed a trial with La Liga giants Real Madrid.

Linfield academy’s Mark Norris has received an invite to visit ‘La Fabrica’ by under-12 coach, Alvaro Benito.

He’s set to travel to Val de Vebas for a week in May after he was spotted on YouTube playing for the Blues’ side.

A Manchester United fan, Mark has been at Linfield since December 2014 and before that he played with Whitehead Eagles and Greenisland FC. Described as a ‘tough-tackling, creative midfielder’, he is also part of the Club NI set-up.

According to his dad, Keith, Commercial Director at Carrick Rangers, he first caught the eye of Madrid’s academy coaches at summer camp in Japan three years ago, and was watched on YouTube by former Bernabéu goalkeeper Raul Valbuenna who briefed Benito.

“Marky is rarely without a football, works extremely hard, and clearly has a passion but he has to find his own way,” said Mr. Norris. “Football is difficult and requires dedication, a lot of hard work and effort.

Keith Norris, pictured here with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, will be hoping his son, Mark, can follow in Portugal international's footsteps after he was handed a trial with the La Liga giants. INLT 50-902-CON

Keith Norris, pictured here with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, will be hoping his son, Mark, can follow in Portugal international's footsteps after he was handed a trial with the La Liga giants. INLT 50-902-CON

“I don’t know what level he can play at, but with hard work, focused determination and a load of luck he may have a chance to get a living from the game, albeit he is still very young.

“With Linfield and Club NI he receives top-notch coaching up to eight hours per week. He’s good at schoolwork and well organised. Mark has always said he wants to be a footballer and play for Manchester United.”