Young footballers are enjoying a second dream trip to Milan – after catching the eye of top coaches.
Vinnie Owens, 11, from Sunderland, and Dominic McCabe, 12, from Durham, are spending the weekend with AC Milan.
A year ago, they were among five youngsters from Wearside invited to Milan after impressing in a football camp at Monkwearmouth Academy.
They took to the pitch at half-time of a Milan game at the world-famous San Siro Stadium, and took part in a friendly game.
They also trained with the Italian club’s coaches at the Milanello training base, met Milan legends and enjoyed a tour of the San Siro.
Now Vinnie, of Redby Primary Academy, and Dominic, of Durham Johnston Comprehensive School, are tasting it all over again after being invited back.
As far as we’re aware, they’re the only two boys in the world to be asked to attend the junior camp in Milan twiceChristine Owens
Vinnie’s mum, Christine Owens, said: “As far as we’re aware, they’re the only two boys in the world to be asked to attend the junior camp in Milan twice.
“They are with other children from the North East again, and seem to be even more excited than they were last year.
“This time, they know exactly what to expect and hope to do England proud.”
The pair are taking part in a two-day football tournament, representing England.
They are also guests at the San Siro to watch Milan’s game with Genoa tonight, and will take part in a half-time parade around the pitch with children from all over the world.
The tournament is bringing together children from 42 countries.
Christine added: “Vinnie was invited back by the scouts and AC Milan coaches, as they said they thought he had a talent that they wanted to keep involved with the progress of.
“Dominic attended another junior camp in the summer of 2016, and was selected by another group of coaches, who recognised his great talent and attitude.
“The theory of AC Milan is to do with of course talent, but also to fit in with the Milan philosophy, to listen to coaches and be willing to learn, and to have respect.”