A budding young footballer from Wearside impressed coaches at one of Europe’s top clubs.
Washington schoolboy Reid-Thomas Coyne was last year selected to take part in a coaching camp put on by Italian side AC Milan after staff from the club visited the North East.
And this month the 11-year-old was flown out to Italy, where a team in which he was part of finished third in a competition.
The experience also saw Reid-Thomas, of Glebe, taken to a game at the famous San Siro, where AC and their rivals Inter Milan play their home matches.
His mum Rebecca, 32, said: “There were 160 kids from all over the world there so for Reid to be in a team that finished third is fantastic.
“He had a Russian lad and Italian kids on his team so there were a lot of them who couldn’t speak the same language as each other.
“It’s a massive achievement for him to go and play in a different country at such a young age.
She added: “As well as playing in the tournament they were taken to AC Milan’s home ground and got to walk around the pitch in front of the fans.
“He was so excited to go and ended up taking about 500 photos.
“He thinks it’s the best experience he has had and says it was out of this world.”
Football-mad Reid, who supports Newcastle United, plays for Washington Juniors Orange and previously played for Washington Primary School, of which he was a pupil.
He now attends Biddick Academy and plays for the school’s football team.
Reid-Thomas’s family, which includes dad Steven, 30, and sisters Trinity, 13, and Gabriella, five, say he is more determined that ever to become a professional footballer in later life or stay in the game in some capacity.
“When he was in Year 6 at primary school, he had to stand up and say what he wanted to do,” said Rebecca.
“He said that his dream would be to play for England and Newcastle, but if not he would be happy to be a coach and stay involved in football.
“This trip was just a dream come true for him really.”