Northern Ireland’s first full-time residential academy for young footballers is up and running at Ulster University’s Jordanstown campus.
The academy for elite players (school years 11 and 12) is fully endorsed by UEFA and operated by the Irish Football Association in conjunction with the university.
In this ongoing series we meet the young players attending the academy.
Name: Conor Scannell.
School: All Saints College, Belfast.
Are you enjoying being part of the academy? Yes, I am enjoying it a lot.
What are the highlights of your time at the academy to date? Training every day and becoming a better player and also a better person.
Which club do you play for? Cliftonville.
Position? Left midfield.
Any previous clubs? Newhill and Linfield.
Favourite team/s? Celtic.
Favourite player/s – who inspires you? Lionel Messi. He’s such a hard worker, has bags of skill and is a role model for all.
What’s the best goal you have scored? It was against Belgian side Club Brugge when I was playing for JD Club NI’s U15s at the Rotterdam Cup last year.
Do you play any other sports apart from football? Snooker, ping pong and Gaelic games.
What’s the best team you have played against? Dutch side AZ Alkmaar – at the 2019 Rotterdam Cup.
What’s the best pitch you have played on? Colliers Park in Wrexham, Wales.
What’s the best stadium you have visited? Celtic Park.
Most difficult opponent – who is the best player you have come up against? Unfortunately I don’t remember his name. He was a Scottish midfielder and I came up against him when Northern Ireland U16 Schoolboys played Scotland in the Victory Shield last year.
Image: Conor in action for Northern Ireland Schoolboys against Estonia last summer.