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Premier League side give Under-8s squad a day to remember as youngsters take on first-team stars in training friendly

WOLVES manager Gary O’Neil surprised some of the club’s academy youngsters with a friendly against the first team last week.

O’Neil invited Wolves Under-8’s to Compton Park where they met the likes of Hugo Bueno, Max Kilman, Jose Sa, Matheus Cunha, Pablo Sarabia and Pedro Neto.

Wolves' Under-8's were invited to take part in a friendly against the first team last week

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Wolves’ Under-8’s were invited to take part in a friendly against the first team last weekCredit: @Wolves
Gary O'Neil organised a five-aside game

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Gary O’Neil organised a five-aside gameCredit: @Wolves
Max Kilman, Jose Sa, Matheus Cunha, Pablo Sarabia and Pedro Neto were all involved

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Max Kilman, Jose Sa, Matheus Cunha, Pablo Sarabia and Pedro Neto were all involvedCredit: @Wolves

They watched a first team training session before taking to the pitch themselves for an unforgettable match.

Discussing the special day, pre-academy and development centre recruitment officer, Calvin Smith, told the official Wolves website: “They didn’t know they were going.

“We didn’t tell them until the end of our training session so when I sat them down to say they were going to meet the first-team, they couldn’t believe it.

“They wanted to know who they were meeting, who was going to be there – is Gary O’Neil there, is Cunha there? As soon as I told them they couldn’t wait to get over there and interact with their idols.

“The players were like big kids which was fantastic for our boys because that’s what they want. They were sliding around the pitch, screaming when they scored, celebrating when the younger ones scored and having chats with them during the game.

“The interactions were fantastic and Gary O’Neil himself called the boys down and said they were going to be playing against the big kids which is great because it just makes it all relatable.

“Gary was high-fiving all of the boys and made everyone feel really comfortable.

“Matt Hobbs also introduced himself to everyone and shook their hand, again reiterating that ‘one pack’ mentality from the youngest players to the sporting director.”

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Football fans hailed the gesture as “pure class”, with one person tweeting: “Class act is Gaz, lucky to have him.”

Another added: “This is beautiful. Memories that will stay with them for a lifetime.”

A third wrote: “Well done to all involved, nice and wholesome.”

While a fourth commented: “Brilliant initiative from Gary O’Neil this…an experience these lads will never forget.”

Wolves’ mid-season break will be cut short next week when they face Brentford again in an FA Cup third round replay.

O’Neil’s side held the Bees to a 1-1 draw on Friday.

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