Porcher hoping England CP can make history with first World Cup medal
David Porcher is relishing the chance to make it third time lucky when he lines up for England CP at the IFCPF World Cup next week.
Porcher is set to take part in his third cerebral palsy World Cup with England CP and is determined to go at least one step further in Barcelona after two fourth-place finishes.
The Para Lions players spent the weekend at St. George’s Park in preparation for the tournament and will fly to Spain later this week before their first match of the 2022 IFCPF World Cup on Tuesday 3 May against Canada.
Porcher said: “I can’t wait for the World Cup to begin. Because we have been away for so long because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have all missed it, so everyone is eager and excited to get back to it.
“The squad are quite relaxed, we know what we need to do and hopefully we can go out there, give a good account of ourselves and get to where we want to be.”
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When asked what those goals were, Porcher replied: “There are targets and in the back of everyone’s head they will be thinking about medals, medals, medals, but England CP have never won a medal before, so if we focus on it game-by-game then we will be fine and we can see where we end up.
“If we get through the quarter-finals then we are guaranteed a medal match and hopefully luck is on our side this time because it has not been before.
“In the past two tournaments we have finished fourth and we want to better that but we also don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and start saying things like ‘it’s coming home’ or anything like that. But we would love it and we have all thought about it – you can’t not think about it. We have a good squad, good team morale and I think we will do well.”
Porcher, who grew up in Livingston in Scotland, is hemiplegic on his right-hand side but that didn’t stop him from playing mainstream football for Hibernian’s youth teams for seven years - and neither did being a Hearts season ticket holder!
It meant Porcher did not become involved with Scotland CP football until his late teens but he was quickly parachuted into the Great Britain squad for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
After the tournament, the prolific goalscorer was asked to join the England CP set-up and he has become an integral part of the Para Lions’ side.
Porcher had also been playing semi-professionally for Harefield United this season before a spell on the sidelines due to concussion and the pending 2022 IFCPF World Cup meant he decided to focus on his own training programme with England CP.
The Fleet-based star, who is also capable of playing in a deeper defensive position, was one of 14 players named in England CP’s squad for the 2022 IFCPF World Cup, where they will face Canada on Tuesday 3 May, Venezuela two days later and then Netherlands on Saturday 7 May.
During his downtime in Salou, Barcelona, Porcher will also have the laptop out as he works towards the end of the first year of his PE teacher qualification at St Mary’s University in Twickenham.
But there is no doubt that the majority of his focus will be on hopefully securing a medal with England CP.
He said: “I have not played Canada before but I have watched them a few times. Because of the pandemic, we don’t know where the teams are at so they could be a surprise package but I personally think we should have enough within our squad that we can get the victory.
“I have played Venezuela a couple of times and they will not stop running, they will not stop working and they will be in your face. We have to be professional and make sure we do our jobs.
“We have to try to not get frustrated in the game because if we do that and our heads go, then it could be our downfall, so we have to do our jobs and hopefully we can beat them.
“Netherlands is probably the one we really don’t know about because they have had ups and downs. They were one of the top four or five teams in the world before they lost a few players so they could surprise us but hopefully we have enough to beat them.
“If things go well, it is likely to be Iran or USA in the quarter-final. We have not beaten Iran yet and the USA games are always really good. When you watch our matches, it is brilliant because it is end-to-end.
“Either way, we are going to enjoy these games and see where it takes us.”
England CP are one of several disability teams run by the FA. Last year we launched the three-year Football Your Way plan, which will include providing world-class coaching and support services for six senior England and associated U21 teams with the aim of every Para side challenging for podium success by 2024, with Football Your Way also committing to establishing two new blind and cerebral palsy England Women’s teams by 2024.
The ambitious plan is multi-faceted and includes proposals to develop, improve and raise awareness of Disability Football in England at all levels of the game.
Growing participation, increasing the number and quality of coaches, developing an inclusive and diverse talent pathway, increasing support for elite players and raising the profile of disability football are just some of the targets over the three years.
Football Your Way campaign
Football Your Way has been launched to help develop, improve and raise awareness of disability football in England
It is a plan which Porcher and several other members of the England CP squad have welcomed.
Porcher said: “I think it is brilliant. I actually did a presentation on it in university because I thought it was that good. The statistics which come out of it were wild. It is something like one in four people in the UK have a disability but only something like two in five participate in sport.
“What we need to do as a collective at the FA is to raise awareness so people know there is an environment where they can feel included and feel a part of something.
“Sport brings the best out of people, it makes them happy, it makes them healthy and for people who might be suffering more than others, if we can open things up to help them – like the FA are doing – then it is brilliant.
“From the bottom to the top, there is something for everyone [in the Football Your Way plan]. I think it is great.”
You can find out more about the Football Your Way plan here and read more interviews with England Para Lions’ players and staff by clicking here.