Wayne Rooney is sending his 16-month-old son, Kai, to Socatots. Socatots, itself the “child” of Brazilian Soccer Schools, aims to help toddlers to “reach their full potential”.

I’m sure with good trainers the Socatots sessions are great fun for the children. And playing games with balls will certainly help develop their motor control, balance and coordination. Presumably there are great socialising benefits to be had too.

Kai’s dad, Wayne, didn’t have this opportunity growing up in Croxteth. But, as he says himself, he did have a network of family and friends living around the same streets. He had grandparents and uncles and aunts to go to when home was awkward. But most of all, he had brothers and cousins and friends playing football on the streets. “There was always someone to play football with”, he says in his autobiography. And he played it every day.

He even came home from professional games when he was 16 and went straight to play football with his mates. Sadly, what he learnt in these thousands of hours playing football on the street is not something he can buy for Kai.


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