A former Notts County footballer has told students at a Mansfield school how his unfamiliarity with English meant he once mistook the Liverpool accent for German.
French defender Thierry Audel kept students at Shirebrook Academy entertained with a series of stories from his football career as part of an event designed to promote learning a foreign language.
Thierry left Meadow Lane last summer and now plays for Barrow, the latest stop in a career that has previously taken him from his native France to Italy and onto England.
He said: “I have always loved the English language but coming to England it was very difficult to understand the regional dialects, which do not exist so much in France.
“Going to Newcastle or Liverpool for example, understanding the dialect was so difficult – at first I thought some words were German!
‘Languages have not only helped me in my football but also in life as well. Football is great but you also need to be educated and if you never open a book during your football career you will struggle to find something else to do after football.
“I’m now doing a lot of work in interpreting and translation using the languages I know, which are French, English and Italian.”
Shirebrook Academy invites overseas football stars to the school every year to take part in its Languages Week in order to use students’ interest in the game to demonstrate how learning another language can open up different opportunities.
This year it also hosted a visit from young Derby County footballers Ayomide Jibodu, Henrich Ravas, Sven Karic and Yoann Greco, as well as a star hailing from somewhat closer to home – Rams striker and former Notts County loan star Mason Bennett, who is a former Shirebrook Academy student himself and actually made his first team debut for Derby while he was still a schoolboy.
James Edwards, head of modern foreign languages at the school and an avid Magpies fan, said: “Thierry was fantastic with the students, answering all of their questions and also helping us to play our own Spain versus France football match.
“We’re extremely grateful both him and the Derby County players for coming along. We had a whole host of excellent events to bring languages to life and, since football is such a big thing in Shirebrook, it always helps our students to understand how learning another language can help people in their careers in ways they may not have previously considered.”
Pictures show: Former Notts County defender Thierry Audel met students at Shirebrook Academy as part of an event designed to promote learning a foreign language.
Notes for Editors
Shirebrook Academy is based in Common Lane, Shirebrook. It has 807 pupils and was rated “outstanding” by Ofsted in 2013, with staff and pupils alike praised by inspectors, who also singled out the considerable care the school gives to individual students as one of the Academy’s particular strengths.
In May 2017 Shirebrook Academy joined Aston Community Education Trust (ACET), benefitting from the efficiencies to be gained from high quality centralised services and the challenge and support of ACET’s School Improvement Team.
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