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The winner of Football's Next Star who won Inter Milan contract is now a manager aged just 32

The winner of Football's Next Star who won Inter Milan contract is now a manager aged just 32

It's been 14 years since Ben Greenhalgh was crowned the winner of Football's Next Star.

The winner of popular Sky One show Football's Next Star is now a manager, more than a decade after he won a contract to play for Serie A giants Inter Milan.

Ben Greenhalgh, a skilful winger from Orpington, was offered a six-month deal with Italian giants Inter after an impressive stint on the show featuring Jamie Redknapp.

He was one of the standout performers alongside Craig Walsh and Connor Smith but after a tense hour-long final episode, the youngster was greeted with the line every contestant wanted to hear.

"Well done, you have won," said Inter Milan academy coach Marco Monti, a fan favourite throughout the series.

Greenhalgh opened up about his stint on Football's Next Star in a 2019 interview with SPORTbible.

"Being on the show was probably my greatest moment in football," he said.

"You're stuck in a dream world where everything just kept getting better and better. In my mind there was no pressure. I was just taking it all in. I had been under the radar for a few months since winning the show before it was aired but after the first episode my Facebook account crashed and that's when it all kicked in.

"The show itself was a positive experience and I learned how to keep my head in tough situations like 'the danger zone' which was a lot more nerve racking than it looked because it would take us hours to film before we even found out who was going to stay."

He added: "Being chucked in the deep end with massive names like Vieira and Quaresma has helped me today to feel no pressure in games."

Image credit: Sky One
Image credit: Sky One

Greenhalgh initially impressed in Milan and once his six-month contract came to an end, the winger re-signed for a following season before enjoying a four-month loan spell at Calcio Como.

Sadly, it never worked out at Inter and a failed trial at Brighton took place shorty after.

However, he enjoyed spells at Concord Rangers, Ebbsfleet United and Scottish side Inverness Caledonian Thistle before spells at various other non-league clubs.

He was also scouted to join talent agency Select Sport Artists, who originally cast him as a Cristiano Ronaldo body double, and since that gig, he's doubled for players such as Mesut Ozil, Gareth Bale, Robin van Persie, Luke Shaw and Lionel Messi.

After a solid career in the lower leagues, Greenhalgh was recently named the player/manager of Isthmian League South East Division side Margate.

Upon his appointment as manager, Greenhalgh said: “It’s a privilege to, not only be part of this club as a player, but to join some great managers in the history books of Margate FC, is not something I take for granted."

He added: “I thank the club for this opportunity and look forward to steering us back to winning ways."

The 32-year-old's career could have easily taken another turn if he had failed win a contract at Inter Milan in 2010.

Eight years later, Ben revealed that Harry Redknapp would have offered him a two-year contract at Spurs if he'd not been crowned the winner.

Featured Image Credit: Sky One

Topics: Inter Milan, Serie A, Italy