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Former student set to work with future soccer stars

Soccer and statistics are the new focus for a former Sunderland College student who has landed a job with Premier League Champions Manchester City.

Robbie Clarkson, 26, has now started work as Manchester City’s lead performance analyst of the club’s Under 12 to Under 14 academy teams.

The role will see him scrutinise games and then feedback to the players on ways they can improve their performance.

Robbie, who previously worked as a part-time lecturer at Sunderland College, says getting the job is a dream come true.

Robbie said: “I was over the moon when I got the call telling me I had got the job. To be working for such a huge football club is fantastic and I think I’m very fortunate.

“I’ve been involved in football all my life, firstly as a player at Middlesbrough and Sunderland AFC and then as a student at Sunderland College and then later on as a coach and lecturer.

“I’ll be sad to leave the area. I’m originally from Redcar so turned up at the college in 2005 not knowing anyone and have since made some great friends.”

Robbie had previously been signed as a youth player to Sunderland AFC but went to Sunderland College to study for a Foundation Degree in Sports and Exercise Development when it looked like his professional football career wouldn’t work out.

After completing the final part of his degree at Sunderland University he began coaching and training other footballers at Sunderland AFC alongside his role as a part-time lecturer with the college.

John Rushworth, Director and Head of Bede and Headways Sixth Forms, has known Robbie since he first started as a student at the college eight years ago.

John said: “This is fantastic news for Robbie, I’m really pleased for him. He worked incredibly hard during his time at Sunderland College and I’m confident he will be hugely successful in his new role.

“The youth teams that he will analyse at Manchester City will really benefit from his insight and personality.

“Robbie’s story is a great example of what students from Sunderland College can go on to achieve.

“I firmly believe that when students come to us we provide them with all the support they need for them to be the best they can be.”

Robbie’s role will see him analyse the performances of the clubs under 12 and under 14 academy teams. The academy has developed a number of players in recent years including Daniel Sturridge, Micah Richards and Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Modestly, Robbie attributes much of his success to the support he has received during his time at Sunderland College, particularly when studying at the College.

Robbie said: “Sunderland College has been great to me. From the day I started, the staff at the college were incredibly supportive and welcoming.

“My course was excellent. It made learning an easy and straightforward process and it’s where I was first inspired to teach others”

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