ABU DHABI // Shay Given, the Manchester City goalkeeper, was at Al Jazira Football Club yesterday to kick off the week-long Etihad Airways Manchester City Football Club Soccer Schools programme.
The Republic of Ireland international was at the home of the Pro League leaders, who will host the first three days of action, to coach children aged between seven and 14 who have been selected from local and international schools in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain to participate in the event.
There was also a special session specifically for children from the Zayed Higher Organisation. "It's great to see the kids so enthusiastic," said the Irishman.
"The kids will learn a lot - techniques, skills and little drills that they may go away and practise themselves at home," Given said.
"It's important that they enjoy it and look back and say 'what a great week that was' and that they have fun.
"When you get to the level I'm at, there's a lot of pressure on. You still enjoy it but you know there are important things at stake, whereas at this young age its very important that they have a good time, have fun and at the same time learn."
After three days coaching at the pitches adjacent to the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium, the schools then head to the Al Ain English Speaking School on Thursday before returning to Abu Dhabi on Friday.
Garry Cook, the chief executive of Manchester City, said: "Following the huge success of our first Etihad Soccer School last year, we are delighted to return to Abu Dhabi and help promote grass-roots football in the region.
"The UAE has enormous potential, due to its wealth of young, gifted players and passion for the modern game.
"Manchester City Football Club is honoured to be able to share our knowledge, skills and coaching techniques to not only help develop Football in Abu Dhabi, but also the UAE's growing reputation in world sport."