Thinking outside the box: Boy, 11, plays on alone despite COVID-19 confinement

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By Seana Davis
Thinking outside the box: Boy, 11, plays on alone despite COVID-19 confinement
Copyright  @TheSJTobin

Coronavirus confinement is tough for everyone. For a football-mad youngster, it's especially difficult.

Denied friends to play with and a big pitch to practice on, many children might have turned to video games to feed their passion.

Not for this Irish boy who received praise from Manchester United star David de Gea after coming up with an ingenious solution.

Nate, an only child from Dublin, has been kicking the ball at a garden fence and practising his goalkeeping skills by fetching the rebound.

Sarah-Jayne filmed her son and the Twitter clip earned praise from goalkeepers De Gea and Peter Schmeichel.

Schmeichel said on Twitter: "Nothing, not even an evil virus like the COVID-19, should stop a talented goalkeeper from working on getting better." 

He also received a training offer from Manchester United's Spanish star Juan Mata.

While Nate has received plenty of kudos from Manchester United players, the youngster is a fan of rivals Leeds United, he told Euronews.

Both Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier and Watford's Ben Foster have extended invitations for the 11-year-old to practice with them when the pandemic is over.

It's "really cool - players I often watch paying compliments to me," Nate said, while Sarah-Jayne added that it has been very exciting.

Nate also had a tip for others social distancing around Europe: 

"Use your imagination for anything you do," he said. "Keep training and and use your imagination - it will kill time during the virus."

Nate did receive a call from his school principal this afternoon who told him that he is looking forward to seeing him and his schoolmates back in the classroom once the pandemic is over.