His grandad would have been so proud.
The Italian-born grandson of Huddersfield football and cricket hero Chris Balderstone is following in his forebear’s sporting footsteps.
Sixteen-year-old Iago Christopher Crini, who has been playing football since the age of six, is a midfielder with amateur team ASD Lastrigiana which competes in the Allievi regional league in Florence.
Now he has been called up for a trial with the representative under 17 non professional national Italian team. Iago is one of only nine boys from Tuscany to get the call-up.
He has also had three trials for the representative regional squad for Tuscany and is waiting to find out if he has made it into the team to play in the regional cup this spring in Umbria.
Iago’s mum, Sally Balderstone, Chris Balderstone’s daughter, said: “Iago, unfortunately, never had to chance to meet his grandad who died in March 2000 as Iago was born in February 2001. But he has always looked up to Chris as his role model to follow in sport and everyday life. They really are very alike – their looks, physique and personality are very similar.
Paddock-born Chris signed as a professional for Huddersfield Town at the age of 17 before later moving onto Carlisle. He went on to play for Carlisle and Doncaster as well as Queen of the South and Enderby Town. His cricket career as a right-hand batsman and slow left-arm bowler brought him more than 10,000 runs and 250 wickets for Leicestershire.
Sally returned to Huddersfield in 2001 to donate a trophy to Chris’ old school, Paddock Junior School, to be presented annually to the pupil named the best achiever of the year. Iago, who was five months old at the time, was pictured by the Examiner photographer displaying early signs of sporting ambition – trying to make a grab for the silverware.