Wigan's Bobby-Joe Charlton, 9, signs for Manchester United

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Manchester United would do anything to have a Bobby Charlton back in their starting line-up.

And that could become a reality in the not-too-distant future...in the shape of Wigan starlet Bobby-Joe Charlton!

Wigan lad Bobby-Joe Charlton

Wigan lad Bobby-Joe Charlton

The nine-year-old, who goes to Westfield School, has been taken on by United’s ‘Emerging Talent’ department as they look to unearth the stars of the future.

Bobby-Joe has already successfully come through one six-week trial at the Old Trafford academy, under the watchful eye of some of the best junior coaches in the country.

And after being given the green light to stay on, he’s now been awarded his own club training kit and gear – an initiation process to reward him for becoming a United player.

And hailing from a United-supporting family, it’s a dream come true for both the youngster and his proud parents.

“We’re over the moon,” said his father, also named Bobby – but, whisper it quietly, a lone Liverpool supporter in the Charlton clan!

“My dad was called Alan but, as he was a big United fan, everybody called him Bobby, and it’s all come from there. Bobby-Joe’s been scouted by a few clubs, but we just wanted Manchester United to notice him.

“This is the furthest he’s been at any of the clubs he’s been to, and hopefully this is the one.

“He’s only small and we think that’s been a reason why some of the clubs haven’t decided to keep him on.

“One of the scouts from United couldn’t believe he hadn’t been picked up.

“He said he was sick of being told about boys that were being turned away for being too small – it’s a load of rubbish!”

Bobby-Joe, who plays for Robin Park FC and Wigan Junior Latics, is two-footed – like his famous namesake – and usually plays on the right-hand side of midfield or on the left wing.

The family would like to thank all of his coaches, and his grandad David Varey, who transports him to games.