Burnley freestyler Chris Draper to light up the DW Stadium

WIZARD: Chris Draper shows off his skills at Wigan Athletic
WIZARD: Chris Draper shows off his skills at Wigan Athletic

BURNLEY freestyler Chris Draper has landed a lucrative performance at a Premier League fixture involving English champions Manchester City.

While multi-million pound players such as Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero take a half-time breather in their clash with Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium on Wednesday, broadcasted live on Sky Sports, the talented 19-year-old will be demonstrating his absorbing artistry in front of an estimated crowd of 20,000 fans.

“I am really excited about it,” said Chris. “I just want to put on a good performance for the fans who have paid the money to come and watch the match. I want them to feel that the half-time entertainment was worth being there for. It’s a massive game in front of the Sky cameras so it would be nice to get a cameo on TV.”

The Clarets season ticket holder is no stranger to being thrust in to the limelight. The king of close ball control was the main interval event in Greater Manchester in April as Roberto Martinez’s side beat Manchester United 1-0.

“It’s unbelievable really, especially when I only started properly in January,” he beamed. “Wigan Athletic have been absolutely fantastic with me. They gave me the opportunity earlier in the year when I was unknown and I grasped it. I have a good working relationship for the club and a feel for the fans there.”

And those spectators may get a glance of his new routine after spending time polishing his thrills and skills, while adding several new tricks. Around the world, hop the world, crossovers, toe bounce, headstall, rainbow, aeroplane, shoulderstall, hatslip and the clock are a selection of techniques on his resume but that anthology has been extended.

“Lately I have been doing more training than out-and-out performing as I want to improve my simpler skills so that I know that 99 times out of 100 I will land them. But I have also learnt several new tricks including the heel juggle, TATW (Touzani Around The World) and I’ve started to learn the sole juggle.”

It’s incredible to think that Chris delved into the intricate trade around 18 months ago during a PR placement at East End Park, the home of Dunfermline Athletic. And since nurturing his skills he has performed with some of the best in the business including Graeme Lightbody, world champion John Farnworth and Richard Braithwaite. Chris’s exploits have also earned him spots at Preston’s Deepdale, Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium, St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park, Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park, Hull City’s KC Stadium, Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium and Derby’s Pride Park.

That catalogue of venues also includes a trip across the Atlantic where Chris lived his American dream, displaying his talent in the brightly-illuminated hub of Times Square, Central Park and Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ 20,450 capacity Lockhart Stadium.

But the one that stands out for Chris is an appearance at his beloved Turf Moor as the Clarets faced Birmingham in the Championship last term. “The one that meant the most to me was the Burnley game,” admitted Chris. “I am a Burnley fan so it was a dream to be on the pitch.”

He added: “But the Wigan versus Manchester United game was also a big one because it was my first Premier League fixture. I’d gone from performing in front of 6,000 fans at St Johnstone to just under 20,000 at Wigan. It was a real game-changer for me. I really enjoyed the experience and I continue to enjoy it.

“I feel I have developed well as I only started out properly in January. To do the amount of events that I have done in that time is great. I am proud of what has happened so far but I want to keep pushing and do as many events as I can.”

Anybody interested in arranging a group tutorial from Chris or wanting to acquire his services for other events can contact him on 07506 964627 or by email at cdfreestyle@live.com.