YOUNG rugby players are tackling a new challenge on the high street.

Matt Whitley, Widnes Vikings under 19 captain discovered what it was like to work in a shop.

He spent a day at the Cex electronic recycling store in Albert Road, Widnes, which buys and sells phones, tablets and gaming equipment.

Martin Hawthorne, aged 40, from Sandymoor, Runcorn, who runs the franchise, said: “We taught him how to use the tills and the systems.

“He was then tasked with selling an i-pad to his teammate, Vikings prop, Alex Gerrard.

“Matty picked up things really quickly and remembered everything.

“It was a great day and he really enjoyed it.

“The idea is to give young players some work experience so that they realise they need to learn new skills for when they won’t be able to play anymore.”

Martin, who employs eight staff, has pledged sponsorship for young Viking players.

He added: “My background is with the Prince’s Trust, business mentoring and franchising.

“I am very happy to work with the players and help them to plan for their futures.”

Michelle Holmes, head of commercial at Widnes Vikings, said: “It’s crucial that the club engages with the local community and business community if we are to grow and compete at the very top of First Utility Super League.

“We were delighted to sign up CEX as sponsors for Matt Whitley and also as a Knight of Naughton Park.

“The sponsorship CEX have given us goes towards the development of young players like Matt and we are looking forward to working with CEX and other businesses in Halton in 2014.”

  Matt Whitley and Alex Gerrard