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Rising star Wes boots out Villa!

TEENAGE soccer prodigy Robert Wesley turned his back on Premiership giants Aston Villa because a rival Midlands club bribed him with new boots and a tracksuit.

Now Wesley, who is being closely watched by his heroes Manchester United, has set his sights on winning a YTS contract with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

The 15-year-old chose Wolves in September ahead of a string of clubs after impressing for youth teams at Peterborough and Leicester City from the age of 11.

He said: " Villa wanted to sign me but Wolves offered me a better deal. They were prepared to buy me new boots and a tracksuit!

"Then, after I signed a contract, I got a letter from Manchester United saying they will look at me when it ends in two years."

The speedy left winger, who aims to emulate his favourite player Ryan Giggs in the top flight, hopes to secure a two-year YTS deal at Molineux in July.

He said: "It's my ambition to work my way through the ranks at Wolves. I'm only young but I scored 11 goals in 15 games for their Under-15 and Under-16 sides last year and hopefully that might be enough.

"Then, if I keep working hard, I could find myself in the first team in two and a half years."

Wesley is following in a long line of talent coming from Washwood Heath School in Stechford, Birmingham.

Villa pair Ian Taylor and Lee Hendrie are both former pupils, as is West Ham's Julian Dicks, Manchester United's Terry Cooke, Oxford's Carl Saunders, former Blues' player Steve Cooper, former Derby players Jason Kavanagh and Jason White, and Paul Brown w ho went on to Villa and Leicester.

Senior teacher Nigel Griffiths, a Wolves' fan, said: "Robert has joined the right club! The school has always pushed football and, being in a deprived area, the kids put their heart and soul into it. They use sport as an outlet."
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:May 17, 1998
Words:320
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