ENGLAND, Chelsea and Manchester City football star Frank Lampard has singled out a Leeds school teacher for kick-starting his career in football.
Lampard praised Pudsey Fulneck Junior School headteacher Chris Bouckley in an article he wrote for the Times Educational Supplement.
He said it was Mr Bouckley – then teaching at an Essex secondary school - who convinced him to follow his footballing dream.
Lampard wrote: “He helped me through a difficult time when I was deciding whether or not to leave school after my GCSEs and take up a football career,” adding: “What made him the best teacher was the personal touch, the encouragement along the way.
“When I talk about my teachers I struggle to remember too many names, but because of Mr Bouckley’s personal involvement over a period of time, he sticks with me.
“As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised Mr Bouckley is also a very nice bloke: he’s followed my career, and when I lost my mother he wrote a very compassionate letter. I never forget things like that.”
Mr Bouckley said: “This article came as a total surprise to me, but I’m absolutely thrilled by it.
“One of the most important roles of a teacher is to inspire their pupils to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
“With Frank it was easy. His talent on the football pitch shone from a very early age and it was obvious that, with a few words of encouragement, he would make a superb career out of the sport.
“I’m delighted he chose to pursue this route and the results speak for themselves. I wish him every luck in the States, and, I will, of course, continue to keenly follow his career.”