Whilst there was furore over famous faces and names attending the over 60’s England Trials in Burnley, this did not detract from 'business as usual' at the over 50’s. The superb exposure that the sport is currently receiving from all levels of the media, meant the 27 hopefuls from the Northern region needed to stay focussed. Amongst premiership surrounding of Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley FC’s incredible facilities provided the backdrop for what many would consider the most competitive and hard fought trial to date.
Quality players from some of the country’s top teams came together in an attempt to showcase their credentials to get selected for the inaugural over 50's England squad.
The England selectors were not disappointed as players gave their all and adapted well to the differing scenarios and situations that were put to them. As in all the trials, players 'thrown' together created some excellent football and some real food for thought for the management team.
After the trial manager Paul Murtagh commented ...
"Today has been a pretty special day, the facilities here at Burnley are amazing and the players seemed to have responded accordingly. Obviously this week has been fantastic for the game with the overwhelming media interest in Tommy (Charlton) and Alan (Kennedy). We hope, that as a result, the exposure raises further awareness of the sport and that other people may be inspired to take the plunge, give it a go and enjoy the many benefits of Walking Football. With regards to the trials we are grateful for the support again from the players, as we all know that without the players that are here and more importantly the players and officials from the clubs around the country we don’t have a sport. We were looking forward to coming here today and we were certainly not disappointed, many of these guys have given us a really difficult task when we select the squad next month, the selection headache gets worse!"
The final trial is to be held early April and the squad for the first International against Italy in May is due to be announced shortly after.