Who said football is a man's game? Sussex Sunday League outfit Park View are fielding a 13-year-old goalkeeper and it has done their fortunes no harm at all.

View's No.1 Rikki Banks has only conceded one goal this season and his assured performances have helped steer the Intermediate Division team to third place in the table.

Manager Mark Tulley, who used to play County League football for Peacehaven and Newhaven, said: "I've played with some good goalkeepers but for someone his age he is an outstanding prospect. He has all the right attributes to be a pro.

"I was initially concerned to play him for his own safety as the Sunday League is different to schoolboy football but he is six foot and has size 11 feet so he has the physical presence.

"He lives and breathes goalkeeping and we have played him in a couple of games and he has only conceded one goal.

"My first choice goalkeeper Nic Britton is off on a skiing holiday for three weeks so it is great to be able to call on Rikki."

Tulley admitted he had no hesitation in pitching young Rikki into tomorrow's important cup game against Premier Division side, The Hollingbury.

He said: "It is a big game, but I have no qualms about playing Rikki. He is the only member of my squad who I can guarantee is not out playing in clubs like the Paradox and the Event the night before matches. Rikki is more likely to be tucked up in bed watching Match of the Day.

"He is a one-off really. He joined us for pre-season training to get some experience but I was so impressed with his ability that I signed him on. We are all hoping that Rikki will play for us in the future and bring a few of his mates along."

Rikki, of Winfield Avenue, Patcham, has been playing in goal since he was eight and the Patcham High School pupil turns out for the Sussex Schools under-14 team.

He said: "When I first started playing football, I wanted to be a defender or a midfielder but I was put in goal.

"I really enjoyed it and I have played there ever since."

Despite supporting Brighton, Rikki insists Peter Schmeichel is his favourite player and role model.

"It is just the way he acts and shouts at his defence," added Rikki.

"I don't shout at the Park View players like Schmeichel, but I have more to say to my school mates. I am bigger than most of my mates at school. When I play for Park View a lot of them are more my size."

After trials at Brighton and Crystal Palace, Rikki is looking to sign for the Burgess Hill youth team for next season, but in the meantime Park View will continue to benefit from his footballing education.

Good luck to Rikki and the rest the Park View team for the remainder of the season and I hope you enjoy the case of London Pride earmarked for you.