Finnerty signs for Aston Villa - read his interview here

(15 Nov 2014)

By Jamie Moore

News broke a couple of weeks ago that Belvedere U16s player Daniel McKenna had signed for Wolves. You can read all about that move and hear from Dano here

This week, we learned that U16 Captain James Finnerty is to follow team-mate McKenna across the water, as he has signed for Aston Villa and will move when he turns 16 in early 2015.

James has been a Belvo Boy for six years now having joined the club as a ten year old. His younger brother Padraig, plays for our U15s.

James spoke to BelvedereFC.Com about the move.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have signed for Villa, I've no doubt it was the right decision, the facilities at the training ground are top-class along with the coaches. I can't wait to move over but I'll hopefully finish off with a successful season with Belvo first.”

James has been over and back on trials to Villa and other clubs for the last couple of years but has finally made the decision to sign. Having travelled up and down from Navan and Dublin three times a week for training and games for the last six years, he is delighted that the hard work and dedication has paid off.

“It was a great moment for me and my family when I actually signed the contract last week. Knowing all the hard work and commitment that I’ve given has finally paid off. My parents are very happy about it and all the driving they have done up and down to Dublin has been rewarded and I need to thank them for that.”

James can’t move to England until he turns 16 in February next year and will spend the next five months training and playing with Belvo under Ray McCann and Tommy Kenny as well as trips to Villa every couple of weeks. He is also involved in the Ireland U16 international training camp later this month and the weekly emerging talent sessions so he’s set to be a busy boy. No doubt his mum and dad are delighted with more driving to come!

He will be over and back to Aston Villa every second or third weekend and will spend full weeks there during school mid-terms. School and finishing his education did cross his mind, but the chance to move away to chase the professional dream was just too good to turn down.

“I was always thinking of doing the Leaving Cert until around April or May this year when I had a lot of trials with a number of different clubs so when this offer came I had to take it. I'll continue doing my education for three hours a day at the training ground with Villa.”

So what is he expecting form his first year as a pro?

“I'll be expecting a big tough year with training every day so it'll be physically hard but hopefully my game will improve by training that much.”

James will live with a digs family and will be living just 20 minutes from Birmingham City so he won’t be too far away from were Daniel McKenna will be living. No doubt they will make a visit or two to Nandos and hopefully they can update their quality of clothes with a trip or two to the local shopping centres!

All joking aside, James and Dano have had an excellent time at Belvo and Finnerty knows he will miss it.

“We have a good team and hopefully myself and Dano won't be the last to sign for English clubs. We will stay in touch as we are about 25 minutes away from each other.

“This is my sixth year now with Belvo after joining at U10 and it’s been a great time for me. The club has a great history with all the international players they have produced and the facilities and the top class football.

I've enjoyed my time at Belvo by making good friends and playing with good players and I will miss the honour of wearing the blue jersey every week.”

You can see James, Dano and their Belvo U16 team in action at the Clontarf Astro Complex this Sunday, Belvo play Esker Celtic at 11.30am in the second round of the All Ireland Cup.

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