AN amateur coach has landed an unlikely role as a scout for the Philippine Football Federation.

Leo Jensen, of Kearsley, has been charged with unearthing Filipino players living in the UK.

The football enthusiast, aged 55, has set up a team, Philippine United FC, and is scouring the country for hidden gems.

His ultimate aim is to find players good enough for the Filipino side, who could help the tiny footballing nation qualify for the World Cup.

Mr Jensen said: “The Filipino players are very good technically, a lot like the Japanese and Korean stars. But there just aren’t the facilities out there in the Philippines.

“Filipinos over here don’t know much about the national team, but I hope one day one of our players will achieve their dream and play for their country.”

Mr Jensen, who is originally from Denmark, has a Filipino wife, Nenilin.

During a visit to his wife’s homeland, in 2003, Mr Jensen first forged links with the Philippine Football Federation.

The South East Asian country is one of the world’s lowest ranked footballing nations, but Mr Jensen realised there was untapped potential in the UK, and he urged the federation to help him set up a feeder team.

He said: “I organised trials in Manchester and London, and from there we formed a team.

“We play down in Watford, but I want to form a second team here in the North West.”

Philippine United FC will this year play its first full season in an amateur league in West Hertfordshire.

It already has masses of fans in the Philippines. Regular updates on the team’s progress even appear on the Philippine Football Federation website.

But Mr Jensen has also been busy drumming up support in the higher echelons of the British game.

He hopes that one day the top Premier League clubs will send scouts to watch some of his team’s matches.

The coach has already spoken with Blackburn Rovers boss, Sam Allardyce, and is meeting Everton manager David Moyes this week.

Jose Mari Martinez, The president of the Philippine Football Federation, is visiting the team this week to monitor Mr Jensen’s progress.

He said: “Leo has done a great job here in the UK and hopefully he will boost the profile of Filipino football.

“Hopefully, he will unearth some really talented players who may one day play for their country.”

Philippine United FC are playing a friendly match on Sunday at 3pm at Wright Robinson Sports College in Abbey Hey Lane, Gorton, and Mr Jensen wants Filippinos in the North West to come out and support the team.

For more information about the team, go to the website