Rossendale Free Press

Dixie tackles leading role in United ranks

- FREE PRESS REPORTER freepressn­ @RossFreePr­ess

FOOTBALLIN­G starlet Dixie Thirde is inspired by the success of England midfielder Keira Walsh, who is a former student at her school - Haslingden High.

The 12-year-old defender earned a place at the Manchester United Regional Talent Club (RTC) when she was seven.

“I used to watch Burnley play with my dad and one day I found a football and started kicking it,” said Dixie, who started playing when she was five.

“As my dad knew the coach at Rossendale Valley, I started playing with them on a Saturday and I have not stopped playing ever since.”

When she gained her place with the RTC, Dixie had to stop playing for the local teams Rossendale Valley and Haslingden Ladies.

“I was put in the team with the under 10s for two years, then with the under 11s and now I play with the under 13s,” she said.

“I have been the team captain for four years and I have been the youngest member of all of the teams I have played with.

“Being captain gives you leadership skills and you can control a bit more of what is going on.

“I like tackling and that is the main job of a defender.

“Everyone seems to want to be a forward so they can score a goal and celebrate.

“But I didn’t have much interest in that.

“I was always more interested in tackling and stopping goals getting in, and then kicking the ball to the forwards to set up goals.”

Dixie is currently injured having fallen off a wall and torn cartilage in her hip.

But she could be allowed to play non-contact football later this month, and hopes to be back marshallin­g the team early next year.

She added: “I still go to the training sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, but for physiother­apy – and I watch all the matches on a Sunday.

“I love the game and the support you get from everyone on the team; we have a good team spirit and everyone supports each other.”

 ?? John Peters ?? ●●Manchester United Regional Talent Club coaches Rob Martin and Lauren Davies with Dixie Thirde.
John Peters ●●Manchester United Regional Talent Club coaches Rob Martin and Lauren Davies with Dixie Thirde.

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