On the back of the Men’s Football recent successes, there has also been individual honours with defenders Fintan Walsh and Matt Boiling being selected for the England Colleges’ side for this season.
Walsh, who made the squad for the second season running and Boiling join a long line of players who have been given the opportunity to trial for the highest accolade that a player at this age can achieve, by representing their country. Walsh and Boiling follow in the footsteps of players such as Pat Webber, Ross Edwards, Luke Brodie and Charlie Williamson to represent the England side and take the total of players from our Football Academy programme to 13 players who have pulled on the England jersey.
This season Walsh and Boiling made it through two trials in Bristol and Nottingham, which led to selection for a training camp at St Georges’ Park in December. From this the pair played against Australia in Sheffield, which led to a 3-2 win with both players making a significant contribution. The squad was whittled down from 25 to 20 players and those 20 made the plane to travel to Rome to take part in the Caput Mundi Tournament. This season England were drawn against Romania, Italy and Wales. The first game against an extremely strong Romanian side ended goalless, with Boiling getting man of the match. Due to the rules of the tournament the game was decided on penalty kicks, which England agonisingly missed out 9-8. The second match was against the host nation with Walsh being made captain of his country. After a first half where England Colleges’ were the stronger side, they failed to capitalise with individual errors costing them and so ending on a 4-0 defeat. In their final game the England side went on the rampage against rivals Wales with a comprehensive 5-1 victory to finish the group stage on a high.
Performance Coach, Dave Hall, is extremely proud of the players efforts “both Fintan and Matt have been outstanding performers and role models during their time with us at the College and its Football Programme. They continuously strive to improve their performance both in and out of the classroom and this has been fully rewarded with their England Colleges’ call ups. During their time out in Italy I was in contact with the England Head Coach Darin “Dabba” Kilpatrick, who works at Chichester College and it's great to see many southern based staff and players involved in an England set up, which is testament to the quality of player and coach in the area. Dabba was extremely complimentary of the boys and that is something that makes us extremely proud as a college because our academy programme is all about developing people as well as players. We are now up to 13 players who have represented their country at this level and it's great that we have a programme that can give players the opportunity to represent their country on a regular basis, which is something that isn’t matched locally or county wide.”
To top this, Matt Boiling was awarded the player of the tournament award and with Fintan Walsh being made captain against Italy, this was an extremely positive tournament on foreign soil for our players!