Father of Real Madrid trial boy may face ‘big question’ of Spain move

Mark Norris joined Linfield Academy last year
Mark Norris joined Linfield Academy last year
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The father of an 11-year-old boy has refused to be drawn on whether he may move to Spain if the child is granted a place with a Real Madrid youth squad.

Keith Norris, father of Mark, was asked yesterday what he feels the chances are of the football-mad youngster being kept on following news that he is to be given a week-long trial with the major European club next May.

He said: “It’s a very big question... We’ll cross that bridge if we have to – you can’t make plans.”

Asked how he may cope with the language barrier, Keith said that his son – who speaks fluent Japanese, which is his mother’s native language – is also studying Spanish in school, and has picked up “a wee bit of Spanish” thanks to family holidays.

Mr Norris – a 47-year-old from Whitehead, who owns East Antrim Motor Factors and also serves as commercial director for Irish League Premiership club Carrick Rangers – said that Linfield Academy midfielder Keith either trains or plays for eight hours per week, and sees a strength-and-conditioning coach too.

Despite “a lot of media hype” about the opportunity with Real Madrid, he said he had to bear “reality” in mind too.

“No-one can predict the future,” he said.