A YOUNG footballer from the district is set to compete in one of the world’s biggest U10 tournaments this summer.

Lambley’s Ben Slasor will represent Newcastle Benfield San Siro at the prestigious European Champions Trophy in the Austrian capital of Vienna, in June.

Benfield will be one of a small number of grassroots teams involved, with others representing the academies of Europe’s top clubs such as Juventus and Paris St Germain.

Coach and club chairman Mark Rooke was given the chance to enter a team in the tournament, after excelling in the competition with a former side, back in 2016.

While he is grateful for the opportunity, Ben has had to work hard to become a regular on the right side of midfield for Benfield, after signing for Montagu and North Fenham FC last summer.

The youngster travels more than 25,000 miles per year to attend matches and training sessions from his family’s farm at Lambley, and spends 10 hours a week in the car.

“Ben is very dedicated,” said his father Jim, who is originally from Gateshead and moved his family to South Tynedale in 2001.

“He started playing football at Hebburn while visiting his grandparents, and enjoyed his time at Montagu, before getting the chance to join Benfield, and play in the Pin Point Junior Premier Division.

“He absolutely loves his football, and is always looking to improve. This trip to Vienna to play against such a high level of opposition will be a great experience.”

Ben, who also plays for a junior team in Killingworth, has also worked with football coach David Ballantyne, a former Haydon Bridge High School pupil, who Jim credits with teaching his son the importance of being two-footed.

“Ben is convinced that if you use both feet, you can be twice the player.

“He likes to play central midfield, but is currently playing on the right, and enjoys spraying the ball about.”

Benfield are full of confidence ahead of the European Champions Trophy. They are currently riding high in the Pin Point League, and have reached a cup final.

When they arrive in Vienna, Benfield will take part in a warm-up tournament to acclimatise to their new environment, and will be handed a rest day before the real action begins.