a group of people standing in the grass

MANLY United star-in-the-making Simon Beer will jet out to England this weekend after being named the 2007 Lucas Neill Scholarship winner. 

Beer was a standout performer for the club?s under-16 side this season and will head straight to West Ham and begin training with the London-based club on Monday morning. 

Depending on how his trials go at the Hammers, he may also visit two other clubs during a proposed three-week stay in the UK. 

The Manly United defender is the second player from the peninsula club to travel to the UK after inaugural winner Chris Payne had extended trials at Neill?s former club Blackburn Rovers late last year and again in early 2007. He narrowly missed out on a contract. 

Payne returned this year to make his first grade debut ? as a 16-year-old – for Manly United in the club?s historic 2-0 NSW Premier League semi-final win over Marconi at Cromer Park. He also played in the top grade during the mid-season Tiger Turf Cup. 

After a season in which his under-16 side reached the preliminary final under the astute coaching of Nick Tomaino, Beer, who attends Epping Boys High School, said he was thrilled to be recognised in this way. 

?Lucas is a player I really look up to and would like to emulate and to have him send me over there with a chance of following in his footsteps is hard to believe,? the 16-year-old said this week. 

?It?s a massive incentive for all the players at Manly United and I want to thank Lucas and the coaching staff at Manly United for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. 

?I?ll be aiming to go over there and represent the club, my team-mates and family with pride.? 

Manly United head coach Phil Moss, who is Neill?s eyes and ears on the ground at Manly, said Beer was an obvious choice for the scholarship this season. 

?Lucas and I sat down before we launched this scheme and set out a very strict criterion for selection,? Moss said. 

?Lucas was very keen to put something back into the game which directly gave young Manly United players the opportunity to make it overseas but it is not a gift ? players have to work very hard both on and off the field to receive this scholarship. 

?I was able to tick all the boxes with Simon ? as we did last year with Chris. He is a fine young player and a fine young man. He?ll continue to grow Manly?s profile overseas and he certainly won?t let anyone down.?