ALICIA Scholes, daughter of Manchester United and England legend Paul, has made her debut for Manchester Thunder in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
The 19-year-old from Grasscoft came on at wing attack for the final quarter as Thunder defeated Severn Stars 60-27 as they made it three wins out of three at the start of their campaign.
Alicia, who plays for Thunder’s Under-19 side, is a training partner with the Superleague side.
Thunder have a squad of 10 registered players while Alicia, who plays for England U21s, is one of five training partners who are also part of the senior set-up.
Alicia, who has been with Thunder since her early teens, is the latest player to step up from their pathway programme.
Thunder managing director Debbie Hallas, who is Grotton-based, revealed 13 of the current 15-strong squad have come through the pathway.
Alicia, who used to play for Oldham Netball Club, was named in Thunder’s senior squad for the first time for the 2020 season which was abandoned after only four rounds of matches as they set out to defend their Superleague title.
Alicia, who plays at centre and wing attack, has also starred at international level for England U17, U19 and U21.
Dad Paul never doubted Alicia would make it to the highest level.
He earlier told Thunder’s website: “We knew from the ages of six or seven when she first played at the ball hall in Failsworth.
“She had a team of friends and they were hammering everyone. We knew she had ability then and she was talented. She is still as dedicated now.”
Paul, who regularly watched Alicia’s matches at Belle Vue before lockdown, praised her work ethic and commitment, but knows at 5ft 4in she faces challenges.
He continued: “When you’re smaller, and I was small, you have to find something else.
“That aggression has to come out and it’s not just aggression, you have to have the ability, the ball skills to get around people who are bigger, stronger and quicker.
“Thunder are the best club in England having won Superleague so the hard work starts now.”
Five members of Thunder’s senior squad have previously played for Oldham Netball Club, Alicia Scholes, Emma Dovey, Laura Malcolm, Berri Neil and Kerry Almond.
Yasmin Roebuck, also from Grasscroft, is in Thunder’s U17 squad for the current season and will also train with their U19s.