Ruben Bolton 1Ruben Junior has won a scholarship at Bolton Wanderers.

A talented footballer from the Football Academy at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London (CONEL) has won a scholarship with Bolton Wanderers.

Ruben Junior, 17, who played youth football for European giants Benfica in his native Portugal before moving to the UK in 2015, will join the Trotters at the end of June.

Bolton secured automatic promotion and an immediate return to the Championship last season after a 3-0 win at home to Peterborough United in April.

"I feel very happy. It’s like winning the jackpot,” said Ruben, who previously won a trial with Leyton Orient, the official partner of the Football Academy, since its launch in 2013.

“It’s a big step and the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. I just want to continue to work hard so I can improve and hopefully I can get to train with the first team.

“That’s the most important thing for me because I love playing football. I am motivated every day, and when you get a chance like this to play at a higher level it makes you even more motivated.”

Ruben Bolton 2Macron Stadium, the home of Bolton Wanderers.

One of the oldest clubs in the English Football League, Bolton have won the Championship/Second Division title on four occasions and League One/Third Division title once, and the FA Cup on four occasions.

As a young boy Ruben played for his local side Real Massana near Lisbon before joining Benfica’s youth set-up aged 10, where he won three Campeonato Distrital (District Championship) titles in his teens.

Liverpool are his favourite English team, with Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino among his heroes for the Reds. He’s also an admirer of Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Ballotelli.

The Football Academy is coached by ex-professional footballers Mark Bentley and Darren Baker with teams competing in the Association of Colleges Football League.

Ruben said: “Mark and Darren have been very influential. They taught me some basic but essential things - how to prepare for a game and analyse performance – and I have seen the difference in me, so I owe them a big thank you.

“All the things they have done have helped me to prepare for my future.”

Jonathan Silman, Head of School for Sport, said: “Ruben is an extremely talented footballer who has a very bright future ahead of him. Throughout his time at the Academy he has been professional and committed to improving his game.

“Gaining a scholarship at Bolton Wanderers is an incredible achievement, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best in his footballing career.”

Click here for more information on the Football Academy at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London.

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