Could Robbie be Harrogate's junior answer to Wayne Rooney?

BUSTLING little Robbie Gotts - already dubbed a junior version of Wayne Rooney - had coaches looking on agog as he emerged a star performer in a junior soccer tournament.

Robbie was the smallest lad among more than 100 players taking part in a Leeds United Invitation six-a-side tournament at Leeds.

But when it came to sharpshooting Robbie netted 15 goals as his Harrogate-based Pannal Ash under-7s went on to win the championship - with rosy-cheeked Robbie taking top billing.

Team coach Cliff Trotter said: "I've been coaching lads for more than 30 years and have seen many talented youngsters. Some have gone on to play for professional clubs but I've never seen anyone quite like little Robbie.

"He plays against much bigger lads but has a heart for the game as big as a bucket," said Mr Trotter.

Robbie's father Antony previously played for the club and now coaches the Pannal Ash under-9s.

Robbie, who attends Pannal Primary School in Harrogate, recently celebrated his seventh birthday and has been playing for Pannal Ash since he was five.

Mr Trotter said: "Robbie created such an impression at the event that the

Leeds United Academy coach

Dave Harrison was rung up at the Thorp Arch training ground and asked to come and see the lad's twinkle-toed skills - all combined with his gutsy ball battling qualities and an eye for the back of the net."

Added Mr Trotter: "The reaction from Mr Harrison to Robbie was 'how have we missed him"?

The United coach was so impressed that he has awarded special training sessions for Robbie at the Leeds United Academy.

Meanwhile, following the Pannal Ash club's success the Leeds United Academy has asked the club to take part in a new Harrogate Development Centre for the 8s, 9s and 10s age group with lessons from Leeds United coaches.

The course will run for a period of four weeks from March 7 at Harrogate High School's Astroturf pitches.

The aim of the coaching will be to help young players score goals, make goals and stop goals.