Derby County stars urge Shirebrook pupils to learn a foreign language

Players Sven Karic, Matt Hunt, Henrich Ravas, Yoann Greco and Fuseine Rashid at Shirebrook Academy. Pictures by Rachel Atkins.
Players Sven Karic, Matt Hunt, Henrich Ravas, Yoann Greco and Fuseine Rashid at Shirebrook Academy. Pictures by Rachel Atkins.

Derby County's stars of the future told students how learning foreign languages can open the door to opportunity when they showcased their football skills at a Shirebrook school.

Four of the club's young overseas players, alongside Burton-born first-teamer Max Bird, attended Shirebrook Academy when it hosted an after-school football event as part of its annual languages week.

Players Sven Karic, Matt Hunt, Henrich Ravas, Yoann Greco and Fuseine Rashid at Shirebrook Academy.

Players Sven Karic, Matt Hunt, Henrich Ravas, Yoann Greco and Fuseine Rashid at Shirebrook Academy.

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The school holds the event every year as part of its work to promote learning a foreign language and gave the students the chance to meet the Rams' under-23s stars Henrich Ravas, Sven Karic and Fuseine Rashid, as well as under-18s star Yoann Greco.

The players hail from Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and France respectively and all spoke about how they have had to adjust to the British way of life and learn English in order to further their careers with Derby.

Max, who made his Rams first team debut aged 16 in 2017 and was recently crowned EFL Championship Apprentice of the Year, also spoke about how he was learning about other cultures by training with the players - and said how learning a foreign language could help him to achieve a career target too.

Matt Hunt training with pupils.

Matt Hunt training with pupils.

He said: "I've learned a lot from the overseas lads in the under-23s team and we've all been helping them to learn the language and about life in this country.

"There have been a number of young England players who have played overseas recently, including my teammate Mason Mount, and playing somewhere like Spain is certainly something I'd like to do.

"I would have no problem learning Spanish in order to get on. I learned German at school and was OK at it, but I had to give it up in order to concentrate on football."

The football workshop was organised by James Edwards, head of modern languages at Shirebrook Academy, who has laid on a series of activities designed to open up students' eyes to other languages and cultures.

Matt Hunt training with pupils.

Matt Hunt training with pupils.

He said: "We have footballers come to see us every year and they're always a popular fixture of our languages week and a wonderful example of how learning a foreign language can open doors.

"This year was no exception; the students asked some very good questions and the players gave some excellent insights into the challenges of integrating into other cultures.

"Languages week is hard work but it's a lot of good fun. We've had some wonderful activities looking at different foods from around the world and even an I'm A Celebrity-style bush-tucker trial where teachers had to guess the foreign food they were eating."

Matt Hunt with pupils.

Matt Hunt with pupils.