SCHOOLFRIENDS will line up against each other on the football field after being snapped up by professional clubs.
Mason Terry, nine, was courted by Southend United, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal after getting noticed playing for Sunday side Essex Allstars.
He has now signed for West Ham United Under-9s, playing the likes of Chelsea.
And pal Presley Hedges, eight, a classmate at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Canvey, has signed for Southend United.
The pair, both goalkeepers, live on Canvey and can’t wait to play against each other.
Mason’s dad, Paul Terry, 42, of Long Road, said it was a dream come true for the boys.
He said: “I’m a very proud dad. I was getting all these phone calls from clubs who wanted to sign him – it was really strange.
“Mason felt really comfortable at West Ham, so he signed. He’s met Andy Carroll and Ashley Cole, who has a nephew playing with the club.
“I know Presley and his mum and dad from football teams when the boys were six or seven and they’re great people. I think it’s fantastic both boys have this opportunity.”
Mason now spends every Tuesday at West Ham.
Professional footballers can earn eye-watering sums of money these days, but Mr Terry said neither of the lads were getting carried away.
He said: “It’s too early to think too far ahead. The school has been so supportive of Mason. They said it’s a fantastic opportunity for him and we are keeping a close eye on his school work.”
Presley’s mum Kirsty Hedges, 40, said: “Presley was all set to join Charlton Athletic when Southend United approached him at the last minute.
“He’s a huge Southend fan, so it was really exciting.
Since the age of two he’s been wanting people to kick penalties against him.
“I’m massively proud.”