The trainee plumber from Wythenshawe hoping to sink Spurs in the FA Cup

A trainee plumber is set to live what seemed a pipe dream when he takes on England captain Harry Kane and former United boss Jose Mourinho.

Neil Kengni, 20, from Wythenshawe, is a student at Trafford College – and a talented amateur footballer with Northern Premier League club Marine.

The Merseyside team landed the plum draw of Premier League Tottenham Hotspur in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup – only the second club from the eighth tier of English football to get that far in the competition.

As one of Marine’s top goalscorers, United fan Neil is expected to form an integral part of the line-up for the match, which will take place at the club’s home ground between January 8-11 – and is set to be shown live on TV.

Neil has been studying for an apprenticeship in plumbing at Trafford College’s Stretford Campus for two years and working with Horizon plumbers over the summer.

Neil Kengni

He said: “I haven’t spoken about much football in college, but when my course mates found out they have all been saying well done on the win and they’ll be tuning in to watch the game.

“Studying plumbing then training in the evenings hasn’t always been easy, but the college has been very accommodating.

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“It has been madness at times to get home, get changed and drive to practise, but to be able to play matches, like this one against Spurs, shows it’s well worth the effort.”

The former St Paul’s Catholic High School pupil began his football career playing for Rochdale on a youth scholarship until the age of 18.

He then moved to Stalybridge Celtic for two years and went to Marine on loan before becoming the club’s first summer signing this year.

“I decided to study plumbing as a way of making a living while I’m playing football semi-professionally, and I’m loving it,” Neil added.

“College is like being part of a big football team. Tutors make it clear what they expect of you, give you support and show you where to find it in order for you to raise your game.

“The only area of disagreement is which football team we support.”

Neil said he plans to apply for a job in domestic plumbing when he completes his apprenticeship in 2024.

Head of studies for plumbing for The Trafford College Group, John Ellis, said: “We’re all extremely proud of Neil’s performance in plumbing as well as on the pitch.

“I know many of our staff and students will be watching the next stage of the FA Cup because Neil’s such a key player. We’re all in awe of what Neil achieves on the pitch after studying as an apprentice on placement and with the College all week.

“It’s not easy to juggle the two and we’d like to commend what Neil does week in and week out.

“Neil has our support every…

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