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

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.