MICHAEL Owen was an Everton fan but chose to join Liverpool as a promising youngster, Ian Rush had to do likewise.

Sometimes a fan's allegiance to a football club has to be put to one side for the next rung on the ladder, and that's exactly what Leeds United fan Cameron Rigby of Mexborough has done.

For Cameron, 8, has signed a one-year contract with Sheffield United's Under-9s.

The Montagu School pupil has chosen to leave Mexborough Rovers Under-8s after winning a handful of 'player of the season' awards, and will join up with the Blades juniors for next season.

He has been training with Sheffield United for 18 months, after having his confidence boosted at a trial with Manchester United.

Despite not getting picked by the Red Devils, Cameron was pointed in the direction of Bramall Lane by his grandad, Mexborough marathon man and former medal winning boxer Tommy Joyce.

Tommy got Cameron a trial with the Blades and the youngster has not looked back since.

He was in the bottom group of 50 kids selected but in the 18 months since then he has steadily risen up the pecking order and has now won a contract.

United have given Cameron a full kit, a tracksuit and a shirt to wear on matchdays. The Under-9s academy league Cameron will play in will take him all over the north of England, playing against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Leeds United. He has already represented United in friendlies against Derby County, and they play next Saturday at Nottingham Forest.

A midfielder by trade, Cameron was Mexborough Rovers' top scorer this season but plays at right back for Sheffield United, such is the depth of talent.

Dad Darren said: "It's a fantastic opportunity for him. They're very disciplined and very professional, but if for any reason he's not enjoying it, he's free to quit."

Tommy Joyce added: "Cameron has got that crucial ingredient, desire, and that's the first thing you need to succeed."

Darren and Marie Rigby would like to thank Mexborough Rovers coaches Neil Tonkinson and Dave Hartley for their help.