Manchester City and England defender John Stones dropped in to see pupils at The Manchester Grammar School.
Stones was at MGS to support the English Schools’ FA (ESFA) PlayStation Schools’ Cup and take part in a question-and-answer session with pupils, pass on some expert tips during a coaching session and pose for pictures with excited pupils.
The former Everton defender also met both teams at a friendly match between MGS’s Under-12s team and Audenshaw School, presenting a commemorate trophy to MGS captain Josh Trickett, 12, from Didsbury, after MGS won 3-2.
Josh was also chosen to face Stones in a special PlayStation 4 game of FIFA17 in MGS’s new sports facility – The Michael Atherton Sports Hall, named after the former England cricket captain Michael Atherton who was a pupil at MGS.
Josh said: “It was a huge honour to meet John Stones. The highlight was playing him at FIFA – I was England and the team included John Stones.
“I am very thankful to him for presenting me the winning trophy and spending time with the team. Overall, an experience I won’t forget.”
Stones was also put through his paces by MGS boys as he took on the ‘Tip, Question or Trick?’ challenge for the Sky Sports show Game Changers, before Daniel Rose, 13, and Aryan Abrol, 12, interviewed the star defender for the Match of the Day Kickabout programme, which will be broadcast on CBBC in the coming weeks.
Stones said: “I was delighted to be asked to help encourage more kids to get involved in the PlayStation Schools’ Cup, which has grown into the biggest grassroots football competition in the country.
“Seeing the passion and enthusiasm from pupils at The Manchester Grammar School was great to see and there were certainly some talented future stars on show.”
MGS Director of Sport Mark Walmsley said: “Today was a fantastic occasion for The Manchester Grammar School and we were really happy to not only host this event but give our boys the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of it.
“It is always great for them to meet role models such as John Stones, someone who has made it to the top of his sport at such a young age, and to learn about the hard work and sacrifices he has made in order to get there.
“His success will undoubtedly prove an inspiration for the many boys we have at MGS who love their football.
“Our boys thoroughly enjoyed all the activities on offer today and we would like to thanks all those from the English Schools’ FA PlayStation Schools’ Cup who made today possible.
“Most importantly, seeing our boys get so much out the day will continue to give them the enthusiasm and passion to participate in sport at whatever level.”