Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

'Bit early' for George Villa debut

The Duke of Cambridge has revealed he would "love" to attend football matches with his son Prince George in the near future, but he will have to "pass that by the missus".

William, who is a loyal Aston Villa supporter, said it would be "fantastic" if his 22-month-old son decided to follow the same club as his father, although "it'll probably end up being that Charlotte is the Villa fan".

He was speaking to Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final, where the Duke will watch his beloved Villa take on holders Arsenal at Wembley stadium.

In his first broadcast interview since the birth of his daughter Princess Charlotte, William admitted he was "terrified" ahead of the game as he prepares to present the trophy to the winning team.

Asked when he will take George to his first football match, the Duke replied: "I don't know, I'll have to pass that by the missus, see how I can get away with it. At the moment, being only 22 months, it's a little bit early."

William said the "responsible thing" would be to allow George to "make his own mind up" about which team to support but he may be "quite biased".

"Of course he can support whoever he wants, but if he supports Villa, it'd be fantastic," the Duke added.

"I'd love to go to the odd match with him in the future.

"It'll probably end up being that Charlotte is the Villa fan, and George will go and support someone else," he joked.

William praised Villa's manager Tim Sherwood, who has also guided the team to Premier League safety, but admitted he would be "very nervous" during the match.

"I'm terrified," he said. " I think it's been an interesting season for Villa, the last two seasons have been quite hard work, being close to relegation. The guys have battled through, they've done seriously well. And I'm really excited about Tim's leadership, he's doing a really great job with them."

William said he decided to support Villa while at school because he did not want to follow "run of the mill" teams such as Manchester United or Chelsea, which most of his friends supported.

"I wanted to have a team that was more middle of the table, that could give me the more emotional rollercoaster moments. To be honest, now looking back, that was a bad idea. I could have had an easier time," he joked.

One of the first FA Cup games the Duke attended was Villa's semi-final tie with Bolton in 2000, where he " sat with all the Brummie fans and had a great time", he said.

William, who is president of the Football Association, said he would like to see racism stamped out of the game across Europe and the rest of the world and more home-grown players being given opportunities in the English game.

"I know Harry Kane is one everyone's talked about recently a lot, and I know he's benefited from someone like Tim Sherwood who's helped him through the youth academy," he said.

"It's the foreign element, we don't want to degrade the Premier League - it's one of the most fantastic in the world and everyone loves watching it - but we have to find a clever balance, to allow the England team more talent to come through."

The full interview, which was filmed in the grounds of Kensington Palace, will be shown as part of BBC One's live coverage of the FA Cup final from 12.10pm on Saturday.


From Belfast Telegraph