It’s every footballer player’s ambition to be asked to represent their country and at the age of 74, Blackpool resident Neil Willetts is living that dream.
The retired flagger from Anchorsholme represented the England Mens 70+ against Guernsey yesterday in the Walking Football Home Internationals.
Neil was called up to the team after trials for the North West England team in Wigan earlier this year.
Neil, who has had two knee replacements, only found out about the call-up three weeks ago and said he looks forward to playing every week.
He said: “It all started off about three and a half years ago. I was fed up of being a couch potato and spotted it being advertised at Fleetwood Town so thought I would give it a go.
“I find it extremely enjoyable and surprisingly I go down to Poolfoot Farm each Wednesday and more than 45 people are there playing from aged 50 all the way up.
“And roll on to the present day and I am representing my country in the sport. It’s fantastic and I’m so proud to playing for England.”
Walking football is different to regular Association Football and is aimed at the over 50s age group.
Many tournaments are now catering exclusively for the over 60’s age group.
According to the Walking Football Associa tion, teams are either five or six-a-side.
As a result of these rules, games are played at a slower pace, often on state of the art 3G artificial grass pitches, thus reducing the threat of pain, discomfort and injury, with players briskly walking through matches.