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Meet The Lad Who Nutmegged Wayne Rooney Playing Five-A-Side

Meet The Lad Who Nutmegged Wayne Rooney Playing Five-A-Side

Picture the scene: You're sharing the same astroturf pitch as Wayne Rooney, Joe Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Fernando Torres. How could you possibly steal the show?

Well, staunch United fan Callam Gardner made the most of the rare opportunity handed to him when he cheekily made a wager with Rooney that if he put the ball through his legs, he'd get two tickets for the upcoming Manchester derby.

The Manchester trickster has been "megging people from day one" but his most high-profile victim is Manchester United and England's record goalscorer way back in 2008.

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After being convinced by his Mum and his mates to audition for a Nike advert after flyers were handed out in college and down the local pub, a 17-year old Callam showed off his best skills at BBC studios.

He impressed so much that he received a phone call to say he was successful and was asked to go for a second trial at 'The Pits' in Ardwick, where he was unplayable and deservedly chosen to star in the new commercial.

The advert, which was focusing on the wonderful world of five-a-side footbal,l was being filmed at the Sugden sports centre underneath the Mancunian Way.

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Callam was touch-tight with some of the very best players in the Premier League, if not the world, but he wanted to make his mark and did exactly that - dishing out the ultimate humiliation to Rooney by nutmegging him twice and sending Ferdinand mad.

The viral clip has a cool 1.2 million views on YouTube and you just know it would have been blown up even more if it happened today.

"My mates have said to me, 'You meg people all the time, bet him for £5,000 and see what he says'. I was like, 'Don't be stupid, I'm not going to go up to him and bet him five grand - I'll see about getting some tickets,'" Callam told SPORTbible.

"As we're playing the game, we had like intervals. I was against Rooney and we were just stood there so I said, 'If I meg you in a one-on-one, I get two tickets for the derby?'.

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"This is me being proper Manc. I just thought, 'Why not?' - he can only say no. I could not get the ball off him for the life of me, he was too strong and too quick.

"But I managed to nick the ball off him, started to a bit of skill and then I've megged him. At this point there's no cameras watching, there's only the lads that are on the set and other people watching.

"There's me, a 17-year old lad buzzing so I've asked him when I can pick up these tickets. He said, 'Go give your number to my agent and we'll be in touch'.

"That was that, nothing of it. We've continued the rest of the day doing the advert and the producer has told us he's got everything they wanted, they were just going to do a five-on-five and take different clips from it.

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"This is where the cameras are rolling now and I've done my bit, megged him and put it top corner. Everyone's gone mental, Rio's gone mad and Joe Cole's going crazy. That's where the video footage came from. I megged him twice but only one was actually on the two cameras."

Rooney suffered the biggest humiliation one can possibly experience on a football pitch but a day later he rang Callam and told him he was following through with his promise as well as giving him details on where and when to get the tickets.

A jobsworth security guard at the Lowry Hotel nearly scuppered it, but after ringing Rooney, the former Everton man sorted it all out and came down to reception in his tracksuit to give Callam and his mate Steven the keys to the kingdom.

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Not only that, he stayed and chatted to the pair about all things football and life.

Callam recalled: "A day's gone by and I'm sat at home with my Mum, Dad and my sister and the phone rings. I've answered it and he's gone, 'Hiya mate it's Wayne'. I was like, 'Wayne who?' - he said it was Rooney and I went, 'Oh shit! Er sorry mate, you alright?'

"He asked when it was best for me to pick up the tickets so I was like, 'Whenever mate, it's not a problem - you tell me and I'll be there'.

"He says, 'Well we're staying in the Lowry Hotel on the weekend, if you come there then you can pick them up'. Told us the time to be there and that was that.

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"At first I thought what if they don't let me in. I've rang my mate, he's a massive Rooney fan and we've drove into the Lowry Hotel where they were staying and as we've got there there's a security guard at the front.

"I was like, 'Hi mate I've just come to pick up some tickets off Rooney'. He's like, 'Rooney's not here mate'. I told him, 'Mate he rang me and he told me to come'. He thought we were just United fans trying to get in.

"Luckily he did ring me off his actual phone number so I rang him and he said to put the guard on the phone. He says, 'Yeah they're with me, let them in' and so me and my mate are like, 'Told you we weren't bullshitting!'

"We've gone to reception and he's come down in his tracksuit with two tickets for me. We stood there for five/ten minutes chatting away to him, talking about the game and life before saying, 'All the best'."

The next day Callam and his pal watched from the Etihad Stadium away end as Rooney scored one of his many Manchester derby winners. Cristiano Ronaldo was sent off later on but United held on for the one and capped off an "unbelievable" week for a young Manc lad.

Image: PA
Image: PA

The problem he encountered, however, was that he couldn't share it with his mates as they didn't believe he had actually nutmegged one of the greatest English players of all-time.

But through his friendship with Danny Welbeck, who was coming through the ranks at United at the time, he was able to get his proof off Ferdinand when out clubbing.

He added: "We went on a night out to Boutique in Manchester the week after. My mates didn't believe me at first and were like, 'Nah it didn't happen!'.

"Rio Ferdinand was in the club we were in and I'm friends with Welbeck, who was stood with him at the time.

"My mates were like, 'Right if you've megged him, go over to Ferdinand and let's ask him. Here's me, 'Billy Big Balls', I've gone over to their bit in the club and said, 'Welbz, these don't believe me that I megged Rooney, speak to Rio'.

"Welbz asked him what the nutmeg was like and Rio said, 'It was unbelievable, he absolutely ripped him!' - that's when my friends actually believed me.

"The video didn't come out because Nike edited the video to make it look like one big thing, so it didn't come out until a couple of months after."

The shoot and subsequent Rooney ruining opened up a lot of doors for Callam. Now the duty manager at the Powerleague he had his second trial at, he also plays Non-League with 1874 Northwich and has toured the world playing for England's six-a-side team.

Image: Callam Gardner
Image: Callam Gardner

What's more, he's also starred in another advert with Rooney, as well as the likes of Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah, James Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero - working as the latter's double.

Image: Callam Gardner
Image: Callam Gardner

He also won the England heat of Neymar's five-a-side tournament playing for a team from London and met the Brazilian after receiving an all-expenses trip to Brazil for the world final.

Image: Callam Gardner
Image: Callam Gardner

His story may sound like something you'd hear Jay Cartwright from the Inbetweeners waffle on about but the proof is there to see.

Topics: Football News, Football, Manchester United, Nike, Wayne Rooney

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Josh Lawless

Josh is a sports journalist who specialises in football and wrestling. He has been published by Curzon Ashton FC, Late Tackle, Manchester City FC, The Mirror, Read Man City and Manchester Evening News. He provides coverage of professional wrestling and has interviewed some of the biggest names in the field - including the first UK interview with The Hardy Boyz after their return to WWE. He has never sported a pair of Lonsdale Slip-ons, contrary to reports.