AS a football-obsessed kid growing up a couple of miles west of Manchester, Alex Grant would turn his backyard into Old Trafford.
His daily routine was simple: go to school, race home to the family house in Salford, don his Manchester United shirt and head out back with his brother for a game of football.
The Perth Glory defender who grew up idolising David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand could fulfil a childhood dream by lining up against the Red Devils on Saturday.
While Grant is no certainty to start after spending the off-season working his way back from injury, he said it would be a dream come true to take part.
“I said to the boss I probably won’t be able to play a full game, but if he could put me on the for the last five minutes, it would mean so much,” Grant said.
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“If I don’t play, just to watch them will be a great experience. If I can’t play for them, the next best thing is playing against them.”
The ECU Joondalup product, who used to travel to United games during his stints with Portsmouth and Stoke City, said he was already eyeing off a few United stars to swap shirts with post-game.
“Even if I don’t get on, I’m going to be hanging around the pitch towards the end of the game,” he said.
“It would be nice to get the shirt of a local lad like Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, especially for them to sign it.
“With me being from Manchester, I’ll have to over-pronunciate every word and really bring that Mancunian accent out.”
— Perth Glory FC (@PerthGloryFC) July 7, 2019
Grant said it was important for the Glory to not be over-awed by the opposition, although he admitted the prospect of defending the mercurial pace of Rashford was somewhat daunting.
“I’m towing a caravan at the best of times, so I think he’d leave me for dead,” he said.
“We experienced it last year against Chelsea, you’ve got to show these teams respect, but if you show them too much respect they’ll walk all over you.
“After the season we had last year, no reason why we can’t go out and do a good job and stick a couple away – although it won’t do (United manager) Ole Gunnar Solskjær any favours if we do.”