County Antrim football star 'living the dream' after signing for Manchester United
A Co Antrim footballer admits he is 'living the dream' after signing for Manchester United.
Ethan Galbraith will travel to Old Trafford this weekend to put pen-to-paper on a three-year contract with the Red Devils.
The 16-year-old impressed in two trials after being spotted by United scout Tony Coulter playing for Linfield Under 16s.
That led to a visit to Old Trafford back in January when Ethan signed a pre-contract in the presence of United's Head of Academy Nicky Butt and club legend Ryan Giggs.
The Glengormley teen - who is an Arsenal fan - will travel to Manchester this weekend to rubberstamp the deal, which will involve a one-year scholarship followed by a two-year pro contract.
"I went on a couple of trials last year after I was spotted playing for Linfield U16s. I must have done okay because United then offered me a contract in January," Ethan said.
"The trials were good, and I was playing with top players as well. Players like Angel Gomes who is moving onto the first team now.
"I played in a couple of friendly games and also some training sessions and it was a great experience.
"I signed the pre-contract in January and I will finally travel over to Manchester this weekend to live there and sign my full deal.
"It is one-year scholarship and then two-year pro deal. I will be playing with the Under 18s next season, but the big aim is to progress to the first team."
Ethan started his football carer with Carnmoney Colts before playing for underage teams at Ballyclare Comrades, Glentoran and Crusaders.
The defensive midfielder also enjoyed two spells with Linfield before securing his big move to Manchester United.
"It is massive, and I am buzzing for it. I am over the moon," the excited teenager said.
"I signed my pre-contract with Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs back in January. It was unbelievable meeting them.
"I went over to watch United play Liverpool at Old Trafford. Then I went into a wee room to sign the contract, and when I saw Giggs and Butt, it was mental.
"They told me how much work I would have to put in. They told me how much I need to work, and this is just the start of it.
"It is a challenge, but I can't wait for it."
Ethan's boyhood dream was to one day play full-time football in England, but even he admits signing for Manchester United is "surreal".
He added: "I am just a teenager from Glengormley who has always wanted to play full-time football. So to sign a deal with a club like Manchester United is massive.
"When I started out in football, my dream was to one day go to England and make a career out of it."I always wanted to do this from a young age, but to be honest I never would have dreamt of signing for Manchester United. It is amazing.
"I have always wanted to play football, and now I am getting the chance to do that.
"Since I signed the pre-contract in January, United have been sending me over stuff to do. Training and gym exercises, and also stretches. So I am ready for when I go over there."
Ethan will work under Northern Ireland man Kieran McKenna at Old Trafford.
McKenna - who used to work at Tottenham - manages Manchester United's U18 side.
"Kieran is from Ballinamallard. I met him and he is really dead on. It is good having someone from Northern Ireland over there," Ethan added.
"He used to be at Tottenham and then he came to United, so it is great having him here. He talks me through things."
Ethan is the current captain of Northern Ireland U17s and has also featured for the U18 side.The former Glengormley High School pupil hopes he can continue his rise through the ranks at international level.
"I would love to eventually play senior football for Northern ireland, but at the minute I am just concentrating on my club game and taking things from there," he added.