Hopes are high for 13-year-old Canadian prodigy at Ipswich Town
PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:37 25 January 2017
The name Marcelo Flores may not mean much to Ipswich Town fans at the moment.
However, give it a few years and the Canadian youngster could well be gracing the turf at Portman Road.
The 13-year-old, who can perform over 2,000 keep-ups without the ball bouncing, is well-known to scouts at world powers such as Barcelona, Chelsea and Liverpool.
But it is Suffolk where the youngster and his football-mad family, including his father Ruben, a former player in the top-flight of Mexican football, have settled.
The Kesgrave High School pupil’s story is a remarkable one, the youngster first making links with the Blues after a chance meeting between Town academy coach Steve Foley and Ruben, in the Cayman Islands.
Foley, who helped nurture the talents of Premier League stars, Craig Bellamy and Rob Green, said: “He (Marcelo) stuck out like a sore thumb, he reminded me of a young Craig Bellamy and I thought to myself ‘Wow, who is this kid?’
“He made a big impression on me but the only way we were going to know if he was as good as he seemed, no disrespect to football in the Cayman Island and Canada, was for him to come and train with the academy at Ipswich.
“We have used him mainly as a striker but he can play in different positions – he just wants to play.
“He is quick, naturally fit and hungry for the ball, he doesn’t have to be told to go and get it back.”
Marcelo is currently impressing at Playford Road in the under-13s and is keen to follow in the footsteps of former Canadian Blues such as Frank Yallop and Jason De Vos, who became Town heroes.
“One of my ambitions is to play professionally in the Premier League, but I would also like to play world-wide, in La Liga,” explained Marcelo, who revealed one of his heroes currently plays in Spain’s top-flight with Barcelona.
Internationally, my favourite is (Lionel) Messi, whilst in the Premier League, I like watching (Eden) Hazard - I try to model my game on them both.”