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Want to be a football pro?

Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard
It takes hard work to reach the top

You've probably dreamt of winning the Premiership, scoring the winning goal in the Cup final or leading your country at the World Cup.

But have you really got what it takes to follow in the footsteps of your favourite star?

We decided to find out what it takes to become a professional footballer.

From getting spotted, to joining an academy, to coping with rejection - read on to find the information you need.

GETTING NOTICED

Some clubs still hold trials, or talent days, but these are becoming a thing of the past.

Instead, most clubs now have a vast network in place that helps them pinpoint the best young talent in their area.

Liverpool youth players
Liverpool's youth players are put through their paces

Many run community schemes which allow them to keep in touch with the people who run the sport at grassroots level.

They liaise with local schools and with the managers of county or district teams.

They also have scouts who will be out and about watching matches all over the country and reporting back to them.

If you're good enough, generally they'll find you.

WHAT ARE CLUBS LOOKING FOR?

Roger Skyrme, a scout with Fulham FC, reveals exactly what he looks for in a young player

It doesn't take a scout to pick out the best player on a pitch. Anyone can spot raw talent, but I'm looking for more than that.

You'll rarely see me with my eyes on the ball during a match - I need to find out about a player's character.

So I'll be busy looking at things like their position on the pitch, and whether they're prepared to get stuck in and help their team-mates out.

A player must have the right attitude.

It's ultra competitive out there, and very few players make it at the top level.

To succeed, you've got to have something special in your make-up that will help you rise above the rest.

I'll often arrange to meet a young player's family and find out a bit more about his background before deciding if I'm going to recommend him to a club.

You should make sure you have every chance of being spotted by playing at the highest possible standard.

You'll probably start off playing for your school team or local club side.

If you're any good you should progress to your district or county team and maybe even represent your country at school or youth level.




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