Accrington Stanley Academy star Luca Crolla has signed for the team he supports Premier League Manchester City.

Defender Luca, 10, is from Whitefield and impressed on trial for the Reds.

He signed as an Under Nine and his performances this season have led to him playing for the Under 11s. 

He attracted the attention of Manchester United, Liverpool and City – but it was the Blues who snapped him up.

Head of Coaching Duncan Fearnhead said: “We are obviously gutted to lose our best players but we can’t deny Luca the opportunity to go to a Premier League club and we have got a decent fee for him for Accrington Stanley.

“We would have loved to have kept him but we can’t stand in his way.”

Luca, who has Italian heritage and lists Paola Maldini as his favourite player, has loved his time at Stanley and credits the club with his development.

“I am sad to leave Accrington and all my friends and I want to thank Duncan, Andy Burgess and Ryan Strange, Foundation Phase coaches for all their help.

“I have stepped up with Accrington Stanley and played in an older age group and it’s been a challenge but I have enjoyed it.

“I have learnt how to play the way Accrington play – play out from the back four, play from the back to front and don’t just launch the ball forward, unless the team needs to.

“I like sliding tackles, being strong at the back and playing good football.”

Although a Man City fan and season ticket holder, Luca says Stanley won over his heart.

“They will always be special, they are my second favourite team.”

Dad Dan admitted: “It is a dream come true for Luca to sign for Manchester City, that’s the icing on the cake. He was a relatively late bloomer in football at six, some Development Centres have players from aged four, but the last 12 months, thanks to Accrington Stanley, he has really developed.”