River Humphreys, winner of the Fiat Tradesman Trials, will join up with the Dale first team squad on Monday to start his month long trial at the club.
The 25-year-old, a plasterer from St Helen’s, was one of 20 tradesman footballers who took part in the trials day at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre last month.
Former tradesman turned professional footballers Stuart Pearce (electrician), Dean Windass (hod carrier) and Geoff Horsfield (builder) put the trialists through their paces, testing every aspect of their footballing ability. The Runcorn Linnets FC defender impressed the trio enough to be chosen as their winner.
River came through the youth ranks at Everton and Wrexham, and was a runner-up on the TV show competition ‘Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker’.
Manager Keith Hill believes River has made the right decision by selecting Rochdale as the club to spend his one month trial at.
“I think River has made a great choice – it’s an intelligent choice,” said Hill.
“It has been suggested that he should come to a club like us because we give players opportunities.
“He has done absolutely superbly to get to this place. He’s won the competition and there have been some very good judges of his ability.
“Now, the questions are - can we integrate him into the squad? Can he show the disciplines that are required of him in a professional environment? Can he catch up to speed quickly, both mentally and physically?
“If we decide he’s good enough on the training pitch, then the biggest question of all is whether he can transfer his training ground abilities into a three point match winning game day mentality and performances.
“If he’s good enough on the training pitch then he’ll certainly get his opportunity. I think that’s why he has come to Rochdale Football Club.”
The full interview is on Dale PlayerHD.