J-Rod leaves Academy star 'speechless'

A chance meeting has sparked an unlikely friendship between one of our first-team stars and an Academy protégé.

Twelve-year-old Tobias Hurlock was shopping in Birmingham when he bumped into Jay Rodriguez in the adidas store on New Street.

Little did the youngster know it would kick off a new friendship at the beginning of a memorable week.

"I was just going into the adidas store to look around at boots," explains Tobias.

"When I walked in the store manager asked me whether I played for the club or whether I was a fan. I said I played for the Academy and he pointed across the store and said: 'So you recognise that man over there then?'

"It was Jay Rodriguez and he was looking at boots.

"I asked him for a picture and he asked me whether I played for the club.

"When I said I did he told me to go and choose some boots which he then bought me.

"I was very happy, it was amazing, I was speechless.

"It was a bit of a dream, I couldn't really believe it.

"We were just talking like friends, he was really nice.

"When I met him again on Saturday he wished me all the best for my game the next day.

"He asked me who we were playing and wished me good luck."

Tobias, who stepped up an age group to represent the under-14 side on Sunday, capped a week to remember by netting a goal in his new boots against Nottingham Forest.

And the 12-year-old hopes to follow in the footsteps of fellow-forward Rodriguez.

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