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Livingstone offered scholarship at Larne

Bruno’s Magpies teenager Kye Livingstone has been offered a two-year full time academy scholarship at Northern Irish Premiership side Larne.

Photo (C) Bruno’s Magpies

Livingstone, who made his debut last season for Magpies and has seven league appearances this time out, will be playing for the U20 side of the team who are currently 5th in the Northern Irish Premiership, three places behind Dayle Coleing’s Glentoran side. The 18-year-old will also occasionally be given the chance to train with the first team, according to Magpies who announced the news this morning.

The right-winger, who has also been involved with the Gibraltar U19s in their recent friendlies against club sides, as the youngsters prepare for upcoming qualifiers, is a player that has perhaps gone slightly under the radar locally, potentially aided by developing away from one of the so-called Big 3 teams. At Magpies though, he has been afforded the chances to grow as a player, and subsequently catch the eye, with the end result being earning this academy scholarship and a chance to further his career outside of Gibraltar.

Larne, who were taken over by co-founder of online estate agent Purplebricks, Kenny Bruce, back in 2017, were promoted to Northern Ireland’s top flight in 2019, and in their curtailed first season, finished sixth on a PPG method. This season they are fifth, and set to at least enter their league’s playoff for a Europa Conference League spot next season. They are based in Larne, County Antrim, and their stadium, Inver Park, has both a similar capacity (2,500) and a similar artificial pitch to that of the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar.

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McClafferty: “I’m very grateful for the opportunities and chances given to me by the club”

FG caught up with CD San Roque and Gibraltar youngster Paddy McClafferty to discuss his side’s season, gaining first team experience at 16 and more.

Firstly, we asked McClafferty how San Roque’s season was going: “San Roque’s season so far hasn’t gone as planned. It has had its ups and downs throughout the season but we have come up against some hard opponents as it is a tough league. We are now looking forward and advancing slowly, making our way up the table and making good progress.”

The 16-year-old has made four appearances for San Roque’s first team this season, lining up in the same team as the likes of former Europa defender Alberto Merino and former Lions attacker Juan Llaves – how grateful is he to the club for giving him these chances at such a young age? “Yes, I’m very grateful for the opportunities and chances given to me by the club as it helps me improve my standard of football massively. The faith shown in me by the club gives me a chance to prove myself to them, and demonstrate everything to my best abilities. I hope to continue representing the seniors and give it my all!”

As one of a growing number of youngsters plying their trade outside of Gib, we asked McClafferty how he would recommend playing outside of Gibraltar for those who were thinking about it: “For Gibraltarians looking to play in Spain, I would highly recommend it as it will improve your football ability and standards, as well as exposing you to great things and experiences. For me, playing in Spain nearly all my life has brought me great success so far and I can only hope to keep playing there at the highest of levels.”

Finally, we asked the 16-year-old what his goals were as a footballer? “My ambition is to play at the highest level possible in order that I am best placed to achieve success at the highest levels.”

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Pozo: “My time at Cadiz has been an incredible experience”

FG caught up with Nicholas Pozo to talk about being appointed Cadiz Cadete A captain, signing for Sports & Life Agency which currently are registered to former Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta and more.

We asked Nicholas how it felt being appointed as captain this season, “I am extremely proud to be appointed as the captain for Cadiz after six years at the club – it is a great achievement.

Nicholas has been at Cadiz since the age of 10, the 16-year old reflected on his time so far – “My time at Cadiz has been an incredible experience so far but comes with its challenges due to travelling for training and matches.

Sports & Life announced the signing of Nicholas Pozo last week – a huge move for Gibraltar Football with the agency already registered to players such as Andres Iniesta, Barca defender Junior Firpo and Milan striker Brahim Diaz. We asked Nicholas how it felt to sign with such a big agency, “I am very happy and extremely grateful to sign for Sport and Life for giving me this opportunity.

Nicholas told us what he hopes to achieve this season, “I hope to improve and mature as a player this season – with the aim of winning the league.”

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Del Rio: “It feels amazing to sign for this club”

FG caught up with Julian Del Rio to talk about his move to Cordoba, rehabilitation and more.

After signing his pre-contract in September, Julian was officially unveiled as a Cordoba this month – we asked the 19-year old how it feels to have signed, “Honestly, it feels amazing to sign for this club and experience new things.”

A long rehabilitation process followed for Julian after his surgery, we asked him how it went – “My rehabilitation went great. I always had a positive mindset and kept working on my foot, so once I came back it would be stronger.

We asked Julian how he has found life in Cordoba and the city, “At first. I was a bit lost, but once I got to know the area and meet my teammates, I was able to move around with no problem. Life in my new teams feels great. It means new goals, challenges and experiences. My teammates and the staff have really made me feel apart of the team, I immediately felt comfortable and confident.

Julian told us about what he hopes to achieve this season, “I would love to get minutes in a few games this season as I’ve been out for such a long time. I need to get the feel of the pitch and the ball back.

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Yeo: “I hope to improve on my football”

FG caught up with Sam Yeo to get his thoughts on his time at Glacis, life at his new club Next Stars Academy and more.

Yeo joined Glacis last summer and would make 7 appearances in the Gibraltar National League before his move abroad – Sam reflected on his time at the club, “I enjoyed my short time at Glacis, and if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I stopped playing football for a year when I left Lincoln in 2019, but Bennie Brinkman approached me last summer and asked if I wanted to play for Glacis. I originally joined their U23’s but ended up becoming a regular in the first-team.

We asked Sam how the move to Next Stars Academy came about, “Phillip Debono worked with an old teammate of mine Julián Del Río which is now at Cordoba, we’ve played together since the age of 5. Phillip approached me and if I was interested in joining the Academy which I agreed.

Next Stars Academy is based in Cadiz and is affiliated with the La Liga team – we asked Sam how he’s finding life in a new city and team, “At the beginning, it was quite hard. After the first week, I’ve got used to it and now a month later, it feels just like home. I get along well with my teammates, met new people from all around the world and have had a great experience so far.

Lastly, we asked the 18-year old about what he hopes to achieve this season – “Firstly, I hope to improve on my football. Not only technically but physically too, I am feeling a much better player now. Secondly, hopefully, play for a Spanish club by the end of the season.

Speaking to FG, Phillip Debono reflected on Sam’s move – “Sam joining the academy is a good move for hin. They have a proper training programme from Monday to Friday where they train twice a day and a third either gym or pool session. The academy, this year, for the very first time is participating in Tercera Andaluza and can be called up to the senior squad at any given time. It’s nice to have scouts from other clubs who frequently visit matches but most importantly the academy has links with some top clubs in Europe and their affiliation with Cadiz CF. Several players such as Ruben Galiano, Nacho Pericet and Geovanni Barba play for Real Betis Balompie and have all been helped by the academy director Antonio Valero. Other players such as Angel Rueda, who is at Sevilla was also helped by Antonio Valero. Hopefully, Sam is the first of many Gibraltarians to be able to be sent abroad to pursue their dreams of obtaining a professional football contract wherever it may be.

He added, “I would like to thank Antonio for taking on Sam and I’m sure we will be able to continue working in sending local players abroad.

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Locals Abroad: Louis Parral

Introducing a new monthly series called “Locals Abroad” where we speak to Gibraltarians about playing football outside of Gibraltar and everything that goes with it.

Parral spoke to FG about how his move to Dunston UTS FC, who currently ply their trade in the Northern Premier League Division One North West – “After two consecutive years with Lions, I knew I wanted to continue my development in the UK at the highest possible level whilst I studied. I had a few contacts and they put me through to various clubs in the North East. Dunston invited me to trial with the first team and after 3 or 4 sessions they were impressed and decided they wanted to sign me.”

We asked Parral how he has settled at Dunston, “The club has been very welcoming and I couldn’t ask for more, the chairman, manager and players and all members throughout the club have been brilliant in helping me settle quickly.

With the UK entering a National Lockdown, we asked Parral how Covid has impacted his league – “We were the first league in the tiered pyramid to have games stopped. We were top of the league when it was paused and we hope to pick up where we left off come on the 5th of December. Training continued up until the National lockdown was announced so I flew to Gibraltar where I could stay with my family and keep fit over here.”

Louis made 20 appearances last season, at the age of 17 years old – we asked the Gibraltar U19 international, to sum up, his time at Lions, “I always enjoyed my time at Lions. I owe a lot to Ferri who put faith in me and all members involved in the club who always treated me as their own. Before the season was called off I was coming off the bench regularly getting good minutes, but covid put a stop to it, so I was disappointed in that sense. However, being young in a competitive squad at Lions has helped me take that confidence over to Dunston, where the competition for places is nothing new to me.”

Lastly, we asked Louis what he hopes to achieve this season – “I’d really like to break into the Dunston team this season and help them in any way I can. I also want to keep developing and take all I can from the players within the team who have plenty of experience at this level. I’m driven to play a part in the push for promotion and on a personal level get called up for the Gibraltar U21 national team.”