YOUNGSTERS have been ‘inspired’ by the visit of established Premier League footballer Marc Wilson.
The Stoke City central midfielder travelled to Picknalls First School last week to talk to pupils about his career and have a kick about in the playground.
Marc answered a host of students’ questions about his views on world football, his career to date and his hopes for the future.
Following a Q&A session, he and his colleagues at the Stoke City Community Trust braved the rain to execute a series training drills with the children.
Marc told the Advertiser he gets a ‘massive buzz’ from showing children it is possible to achieve their dreams.
He said: ““This is the first time I’ve spent time in Uttoxeter and the reception I’ve had’s been really great.
“I’ve got such a buzz working with these kids and seeing how happy they are for me to be here.
“We’re hoping to get a new generation of fans for the club because, without them, we wouldn’t be here.
“The most important thing I’ve tried to get across is that hard work and positivity are the way to reach your goals.”
Republic of Ireland international Marc grew up near rural town Lurgan - also the home of Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
After spells at Man Utd and Portsmouth, he is now ‘settled’ at Stoke and hopes to be there ‘for the long haul’.
He said:“This is the fourth year I’ve been at Stoke and I’m loving it here.
“I’m really happy working under the new manager and am enjoying training and the atmosphere in the camp.
“All Mark Hughes’ work about match day. Everything we work on in training has a direct influence on how we play in the Premier League on a Saturday.”
After playing left-back for most of last season, Marc told the Advertiser he is happy to be back in central midfield.
He said: “I like to get on the ball, pass it around and help my team control the game.”
The 26-year-old said he is confident that, under Hughes’ regime, Stoke can finish in the top half of the Premier League for the first time.
Prodigious talent Marko Arnautovic and other signings have ‘boosted the squad’ for the 2013/14 campaign.
He said: “We can’t take anything for granted but our goal is to get into the top 10.
“I like all the new signings. ‘Arnie’ is a nice guy and certainly has some skills. Mark Muniesa, who came in from Barcelona, is also a real talent.
“The players are generally used to playing passing football throughout their careers, so it hasn’t been difficult to adapt to Mark’s style of play.”