Mini football marvel Jacob Wale wows the talent scouts

​​HE’S fast, slick, scores goals and is fearless – and Manchester United and Sheffield United are eyeing him as a potential signing.
BOY WONDER: Jacob Wale with proud dad and granddadBOY WONDER: Jacob Wale with proud dad and granddad
BOY WONDER: Jacob Wale with proud dad and granddad

There is only one problem – forward Jacob Wale is a mere FIVE years old.

Scouts of the two Premier League clubs have been drooling over the prospect, despite the fact he's too young to have actually played many competitive games.

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They have seen enough in training and skill drills, though, to mark him out as a possible star of the future.

Josh Wale, his dad Mick and kids at Old Trafford, home of Manchester UnitedJosh Wale, his dad Mick and kids at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United
Josh Wale, his dad Mick and kids at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United

Jacob, whose father is former British boxing champion Josh Wale, will have to wait until he is nine before he can legally sign for any professional team.

But as his family are devout Manchester United fans, the Theatre of Dreams could be his eventual destination if his talents continue to blossom.

Josh, who retired from the ring two years ago, has been amazed at his son's skill set and the interest it has created so high up the football pyramid.

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"It was only a few weeks ago that Jacob was asked to play for Brampton U7s" he said.

Jacob Wale at Sheffield United AcademyJacob Wale at Sheffield United Academy
Jacob Wale at Sheffield United Academy

"He's too young to play in league games, but they had a friendly at Maltby so he could play his first proper game.

"A Sheffield United coach was there and he asked me for Jacob's date of birth. When I told him he thought I had got it wrong. He couldn't believe it.

"Jacob was man of the match, he scored and was brilliant. He was invited to the (Blades) academy the next day and then put through to their elite group."But the Bramall Lane club wasn't the only one to pick up Jacob's trail.

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"I got a phone call from a Man United scout saying he had heard good reports about Jacob and asked if he could watch him train," said Josh.

"I thought: 'Is somebody winding me up?' After all, we are all all lifelong Man United fans. I hope he is the next George Best! The scout said that he knew within 10 minutes of watching Jacob that they'd invited him to their Academy base for youngsters at Bradford Park Avenue.

"He is certainly getting some attention. Sometimes he will do something on the pitch and I wonder: 'Who has taught him to do that? He has got such balance and confidence.

"Now as a family, we have this crazy schedule of Jacob finishing school and then going to Sheffield on a Wednesday and Friday and Bradford on a Tuesday and Thursday," says Josh, a boxing promoter and trainer.

The Wath CofE schoolboy takes it all in his stride.

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"After school, he gets in the car, has something to eat, and then asks which club he is going to, today! He is cool about it, absorbs everything, and just does his own thing."

Jacob is a winger or a striker and likes to cut inside and shoot.

"That is his specialty, but he likes to tackle and get stuck in too – he is used to the rough and tumble of having two bigger brothers and a boxing dad."

His favourite player is Old Trafford's Madrid-born Alejandro Garnacho, a lightning winger whom he is now trying to model himself on.

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Before Garnacho it was Antony dos Santos - but unlike the out-of-favour £82m Brazilian, Jacob can kick with both feet!

Josh and wife Melissa are careful that they fairly share the praise around Jacob's older brothers, Mikey, 10, and Jack, eight, who enjoy football, support the Red Devils, but love boxing too.

"I am proud of all their achievements," added 35-year-old Josh.