Raheem Sterling has bought 500 tickets for Manchester City’s FA Cup semi-final and distributed them to children at his old Wembley school.
Pupils from the Ark Elvin Academy, which sits in the shadow of the national stadium, will attend Saturday’s evening kick-off against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Sterling has covered the cost of the tickets and transport to the ground himself, and the idea is understood to have been his own initiative.
The 24-year-old grew up in Wembley, on St Raphael’s estate in Neasden, and attended Ark Elvin when it was known as Copland Community School.
“I have a close connection to Ark Elvin Academy having attended the school myself when it was Copeland Community School, so it is great to be able to give these students the chance to watch a game at Wembley,” Sterling said.
“I grew up right next door to the stadium and would dream of one day playing in a cup final or even representing my country there.
“To now be able to play there myself is an honour and this is a great opportunity to give back to the community that helped me get to where I am.”
Sterling is in contention to start against Brighton, having been an unused substitute in Wednesday’s routine 2-0 Premier League win over Cardiff City.
City, meanwhile, are understood to be unlikely to sell all of their remaining tickets for Saturday’s semi-final.
The club has returned 2,000 extra tickets on top of their original allocation, with the majority of the unsold tickets being the most expensive available.
The semi-final will be City’s first of three trips to London in the space of eight days, ahead of visits to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League and Premier League clash at Crystal Palace.
The 5.30pm kick-off time has also affected sales, with the last train north to Manchester scheduled for 9.24pm.
City are embarking on a crucial month in their hunt for an unprecedented quadruple, with Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League titles all on the line.
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