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VIDEO: Meet the Robins' dancing footballer

3 November 2014

Midfielder James McCarthy had to make the difficult decision to give up his other passion after starting a two-year scholarship at Cheltenham Town.

The 17-year-old won the Irish dancing North American championships in Canada, also placing ninth in the worlds in Philadelphia in 2009 and 15th in the world in London earlier this year.

After seven years of serious dance training, football has now taken over, but McCarthy believes the quick feet and fitness levels he has developed can serve him well as he bids to make the grade in the pro game.

"Two minutes of Irish dancing is hard work!" he said. "All the lads love seeing me showing off my dancing skills and think it’s amazing really. They sometimes get me to do it on the training ground!

"But I don't do it anymore because I am fully focused on football, but I've had some great experiences and visited some amazing places through dancing.

"My aim this season is to develop and progress as much as I can and then really go for it in my second year."

McCarthy joined Cheltenham at Under-14 level after spending seven years in the academy at Reading.

* Cheltenham Town Under-18s play Weston-super-Mare at home in the first round of the FA Youth Cup at Whaddon Road on Tuesday night (7.30pm).

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