LIONEL Messi may think he’s scored the most goals of any individual footballer in the world this season, but a 10-year-old Bury Town forward has put FC Barcelona’s world player of the year to shame.
Striker Charles Debling hit the back of the net 94 times in 24 matches for the Blues in Ipswich and Suffolk Youth League Under-11s Division One this campaign — 20 more than Messi.
And sporting youngsters of the region cannot settle yet as Rattlesden-based Debling prepares to turn to his other love, cricket, and terrorise batsmen.
“We are really proud of him,” said dad Gary. “It’s the second season he’s been the top scorer, but this one he really has accelerated.
“He is absolutely delighted and really chomping at the bit to get playing cricket now with Suffolk.”
Debling – who is also on the books as one of Ipswich Town’s elite under-11s – turns 11 on May 25, the same day Messi plays his last club game of the season against Athletic Bilbao in the final of the Copa del Rey.
But while Messi will be focusing on football, Debling will be well into the cricket season and preparing to open the bowling for Suffolk Under-11s against Essex in early June.
At under-10 level last summer, he took 17 wickets at an average of 7.47 runs, including claiming a hat-trick against Norfolk.
“He would love to go on and be a professional sportsman,” added Gary. “He’s obviously fantastic at football, but his cricket is very impressive as well.
“We are putting no pressure on him, we just want him to enjoy whatever he does, and the more he does the better he is.”
Debling has been with Bury Town FC since under-8 level under the guidance of coach Trevor Cox, but has just left the town’s cricket side.
Despite netting 94 goals in the league this season, Bury could only finish third in a very tight finish.
Their three draws and solitary defeat to champions Moreton Hall cost them, with Jack Stone leading Hall’s scoring charts with 61 goals in 25 appearances.