TOTS as young as six months old are in training in Huddersfield to become the next Wayne Rooney.

A new football-themed playscheme, Socatots, at Little Pumpkins play gym in St James's Road, Marsh, teaches children up to five years old the skills of the beautiful game.

The idea has been developed by Simon Clifford, owner and manager of non-league Garforth Town. It is aimed at getting youngsters used to the types of movements and exercises associated with football.

Already, more than 100 Socatots schemes have started up across the UK and parents are flocking through the doors in the hope that the apple of their eye is the next England captain.

But Huddersfield course leader Andrew Greenway, 21, said the children were not expected to be curling 35yd free kicks into the top corner or smashing home diving headers just yet.

Instead, the scheme is aimed at fun, interaction and education.

He said: "For the very young children we do things like colour recognition, balance and movement. But as they get older we start to use the ball with them.

"Some of the older ones are cracking little players. They have got better in the short time we have been running the scheme.

"One day, I suppose one of them might well be professional. But my main concern is that the children have fun."

Andrew, from Halifax, is confident that interest in Socatots will grow and grow. Already, four sessions a week are being run in Huddersfield.

He said: "We have more than 40 kids who come along regularly. They all love it. It is great fun and gets the youngsters active."

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* The youngest footballer to play in a World Cup finals match was Northern Ireland striker Norman Whiteside, who was 17 years, 41 days old.

* In 1958, Aberdeen-born Huddersfield Town hero Denis Law became the youngest footballer to play for Scotland. He was 18 and seven months.

* Denis Law is also Town's youngest player, at just 16 years and 303 days.