Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and coach Phil Neville are both allowing their sons to train with arch rivals Man City's academy, according to the Manchester Evening News.

Van Persie's offspring Shaqueel is just seven, too young to officially sign for any club, but has joined City-run training sessions on several occasions in an effort to harness his talent.

The Dutch international's former club Arsenal invited Shaqueel to training sessions at just five years old during his time at the Emirates, but no youngster can officially commit to an academy set up until the end of their under-8's season.

City have ramped up their efforts to become one of the countries academies and Van Persie and Neville are clearly impressed, allowing their boys to be coached by the so-called noisy neighbours, although neither kid has played a match in City blue.

Neville's son Harvey, aged 11, is not attached to a club, but does play for his school St Bede's alongside a number of City academy starlets.

The MEN were told about the shock snub to United's academy by a close source, who revealed:  "There's quite a bit of surprise about it.

"You would have thought that if they were going to be with anyone it would have been United."

The Red Devils were asked for an official comment on the news, which will come as a surprise to United fans, but turned down the opportunity to talk about the matter.

Of course its far too early to suggest that either youngster will make the grade as a professional like their fathers, but City are helping to lay down the foundations for any future success rather than United.

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