A plasterer has won a month-long trial at the Football League club of his choice after winning a national competition.
River Humphreys, 25, won the Fiat Professional Tradesman Trials, a search to find a current tradesman who has the talent to make it as a professional footballer in the English Football League.
River, who is from St Helens and works for Rob Ewan construction, was one of 20 tradesman footballers who took part in the trials day at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre on Friday.
River said: “It’s a weird feeling. I thought after coming so close previously it wouldn’t work out for me. I’m looking forward to picking a club and seeing what I can do. I’m going to speak with my Dad and see which club we all think is best – then we’ll see what happens.
“The day was a fantastic experience, even if I hadn’t won, being coached by three such big names in football. Everyone today will go back to their clubs and have learned from Stuart, Geoff and Dean.”
Former tradesman turned professional footballers Stuart Pearce (electrician), Dean Windass (hod carrier) and Geoff Horsfield (builder) put the players through their paces, testing every aspect of their football ability.
After a long day of training and a succession of football tests the judges eventually came to a unanimous decision that River was the most deserving participant, displaying a level of talent, dedication and temperament that they believe could see him succeed at a professional level in the English Football League.
Previously a runner-up on TV competition Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker, and centre half for Runcorn Linnets FC, River will now have the chance to earn himself a full-time professional contract once he decides the club of his choice.
Previously an academy player at both Everton and Wrexham, River also wins a cheque for £2,000.