Sidmouth's Alex en route to footy career

Sidmouth College student Alex Dunn, 14, took a step closer to his dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Sidmouth College student Alex Dunn, 14, took a step closer to his dream of becoming a professional footballer when he was signed by Plymouth Argyle to join their Centre of Excellence last month as part of their under-15 age group squad.

Alex, who has also represented Devon at athletics and rugby, has already played for Plymouth in the U16 section of the prestigious Milk Cup tournament which took place over five days in Northern Ireland. Alex celebrated his 14th birthday during the tournament and will still be eligible to play in next year's competition.

After beating sides from Country Tyrone and Jerusalem, Plymouth beat Hull City on penalties in the quarter finals before losing narrowly to Watford in the semis. Having outplayed Watford for much of the game, it was small consolation for Plymouth that Watford had themselves knocked out Chelsea in the previous round. Last year's winners, Everton, beat Watford in the final to retain the trophy. Plymouth finished fourth out of 24 teams after losing on penalties to a team from Mexico in the 3rd/4th place play-off.

In a busy pre-season schedule, Alex has also played in under 15 and under 16 games against Cardiff City, Birmingham City and Aston Villa and is benefiting from top class coaching from the likes of Allan Evans, former Aston Villa and Scotland defender.

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Alex is a keen Man Utd fan and his ambition is to one day play for them, but he is firmly focussed on playing well for Plymouth and hopes to be taken on as a scholar at 16, followed by a full professional contract.

It is a big commitment from his family, who take him to train in Plymouth three times a week and to matches at the weekend, along with fitting in their other three children's sporting fixtures.

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His dad Colin said: "Alex is very dedicated though and puts in extra training in his spare time, as well as being conscious of having a healthy diet and making sure he gets plenty of sleep.

"Plymouth are very keen for their youth players to remain focussed on their education, so Alex will also be working hard towards his GCSE exams during the next two years.

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