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Former Man United player Whiteside tells pupils to make education their top goal

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Norman Whiteside chats with pupils at Hazelwood College yesterday

Norman Whiteside chats with pupils at Hazelwood College yesterday

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside with students Matthew Williamson from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Norman Whiteside with students Matthew Williamson from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside and his wife Denise speaking to students from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Norman Whiteside and his wife Denise speaking to students from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside and his wife Denise speaking to students from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Norman Whiteside and his wife Denise speaking to students from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside with students (L-R) Matthew Williamson Dale Taylor from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Norman Whiteside with students (L-R) Matthew Williamson Dale Taylor from Hazelwood College.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside and his wife Denise speaking to students from with Hazelwood College

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Norman Whiteside and his wife Denise speaking to students from with Hazelwood College

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside with Hazelwood student Cerys Madden.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Norman Whiteside with Hazelwood student Cerys Madden.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside with Hazelwood student Dale Taylor.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan Norman Whiteside with Hazelwood student Dale Taylor.

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020
Photograph by Declan Roughan

Belfast Telegraph - Norman Whiteside - Visit to Hazelwood College - 4th March 2020 Photograph by Declan Roughan

Norman Whiteside chats with pupils at Hazelwood College yesterday

Manchester United and Northern Ireland legend Norman Whiteside has encouraged young people to make education their big goal during a visit to Hazelwood Integrated College in north Belfast yesterday.

Whiteside dazzled the students in attendance with tales of his amazing football journey as the youngest player to reach 200 appearances for United.

He also broke Pele's record as the youngest participant in a World Cup at the age of 17 years and 41 days back in 1982.

Raised on the Shankill Road before being spotting by footballing talent scouts, he also wanted to emphasise the important role going back to education has played in his adult life, after being forced to retire from the game at the age of just 26 due to injury. Whiteside said he had bumped into one of Hazelwood's teachers in Manchester a while back.

"I got back in touch with them and agreed to come over and tell the students at the school a few of my life experiences I had at their age," he said.

"I talked about my upbringing on the Shankill and how when I went to United as a kid it gave me lots of independence which I had to manage at their age.

"I went straight over to Manchester United at the time, so it was just explaining to them how I dealt with that situation and giving them a bit of advice."

Picking up two FA Cup winners' medals, 54-year-old Whiteside spent over a decade at the Old Trafford club before injury robbed him of his career after a move to Everton.

Having to find an alternative, and with a knowledge of sporting injuries, he went back to the classroom to study physiotherapy, graduating from Salford University and becoming a qualified chiropodist and podiatrist.

"You give me a football and a million people watch me - it isn't a problem. But going back to school is pretty hard work," he added.

"I gave the students advice to get their education done because I didn't do mine when I was their age.

"I was just tunnel vision into football at the time and unfortunately when I finished at 26, I was then left wondering what to do with myself.

"I did it the hard way. Get all your education now before you go into the big wide world so you don't have to fall back like me."

Belfast Telegraph