High hopes to Grant wish

Canning Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

AS a foot­ball-ob­sessed kid grow­ing up a just cou­ple of miles west of Manch­ester, Alex Grant would turn his back­yard into Old Traf­ford.

His daily routine was sim­ple: go to school, race home to the fam­ily house in Sal­ford, don his Manch­ester United shirt and head out back with his brother for a game of foot­ball.

The Perth Glory de­fender – who grew up idol­is­ing David Beck­ham, Wayne Rooney and Rio Fer­di­nand – could ful­fil a child­hood dream by lin­ing up against the Red Devils on Satur­day.

While Grant is no cer­tainty to start after spend­ing the off-sea­son work­ing back from in­jury, he said it would be a dream come true to take part.

“I said to the boss I prob­a­bly won’t be able to play a full game, but if he could put me on for the last five min­utes, it would mean so much,” Grant said.

“If I don’t play, just to watch them is a great ex­pe­ri­ence. If I can’t play for them, the next best thing is play­ing against them.”

The ECU Joon­dalup prod­uct, who used to travel to United games when he was ply­ing his trade in Eng­land, said he was al­ready eye­ing off a few United stars to swap shirts with post-game.

“Even if I don’t get on, I’m go­ing to be hang­ing around the pitch to­wards the end of the game,” he said. “It would be nice to get the shirt of a lo­cal lad like Jesse Lin­gard and Mar­cus Rash­ford, es­pe­cially for them to sign it.

“With me be­ing from Manch­ester, I’ll have to over-pro­nun­ci­ate ev­ery word and re­ally bring that Man­cu­nian ac­cent out.”

Grant said it was im­por­tant for the Glory to not be over-awed by the op­po­si­tion, although he ad­mit­ted the prospect of de­fend­ing the mer­cu­rial pace of Rash­ford was daunt­ing.

“I’m tow­ing a car­a­van at the best of times, so I think he’d leave me for dead,” he said. “We ex­pe­ri­enced it last year against Chelsea; you’ve got to show these teams re­spect, but if you show them too much re­spect, they’ll walk all over you.

“After the sea­son we had last year, no rea­son why we can’t go out and do a good job and stick a cou­ple away, although it won’t do (United man­ager) Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer any favours if we do.”

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