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Published 27 April 2023 4 min read
England Para Teams

England Cerebral Palsy squad for the 2023 IFCPF European Championship

Written by:

Frank Smith

The 2023 IFCPF European Championship will take place in Oristano, Sardinia, between June 2 and June 10

England Cerebral Palsy have named their 14-man squad for June’s IFCPF European Championship.

Head coach Andy Smith and his coaching staff have selected an exciting squad full of experience and talent for the tournament in Oristano, Sardinia.

The Para Lions will once again be led by captain Matty Crossen and 11 of those chosen were part of last summer’s IFCPF World Cup squad which finished sixth.

Giles Moore was one of the best goalkeepers in last summer’s tournament and will again be joined by fellow shot-stopper Reegan McMillan.

David Porcher, who was unfortunate to miss out on the World Cup’s team of the tournament after several impressive displays, is another of those selected, with further experience and quality provided by the likes of James Blackwell, Liam Irons, Harry Baker and Matt Robinson.

The World Cup was Sam Dewhirst, Mason Dunbar and Aaron Lucas’ first senior tournament and they will once again be part of the Para Lions’ squad.

Most of the England CP squad for this summer's EURO were part of the IFCPF World Cup squad last year
Most of the England CP squad for this summer's EURO were part of the IFCPF World Cup squad last year

There are three players set for their first major tournament. One of those is Jayden Kenyon, who made his debut and scored his maiden goal during last week’s CP Tri-Nations at St. George’s Park.

The other two are midfielder Ethan Day and striker Will Ramsay, who have also been promoted from the development squad that had two games against the Netherlands last weekend.

Smith said: “I am glad that we have got to the end of the selection process. This week was good because we had development games as well and the EURO squad changed based on the dynamics of the performances from the younger players.

“We have a good balance to the squad. We have some good young players coming through and it will be a first tournament for three of them. But we still have our core of senior players who tend to perform well at these tournaments.

“We are hoping that the young lads will get the opportunity to show what they can do over there as we will need everyone during the tournament.”

England CP head into the IFCPF EURO as the second seed due to the Para Lions currently being ranked fourth in the world.

They get their campaign underway against Spain (ranked 12th) on Friday 2 June before taking on the hosts Italy (ranked 20th) on Sunday 4 June.

Arguably their toughest group match is likely to come against the world’s sixth-ranked side, the Netherlands, on Tuesday 6 June.

All eight teams in the tournament will then progress to the next stage, with the group winners facing the runners-up from the other pool in the semi-finals on Thursday 8 June, with the third and fourth-placed teams also going head-to-head.

The final and ranking matches will then be on Saturday 10 June.

Andy Smith will once again lead the England CP side at this summer's IFCPF EURO
Andy Smith will once again lead the England CP side at this summer's IFCPF EURO

With five games in nine days and some of England CP’s senior players currently unable to train at full capacity due to injuries, Smith is hopeful the younger players will have the opportunity to impress in Sardinia. 

He said: “Since I have come in in 2017, I have always tried to have around 40 per cent of our squad from the talent pathway system. We don’t often find players of Matty Crossen’s age, at that level, so we do have to develop our players in the pathway and the coaches there are doing a great job with that.

“My assistant coach is Jack Rutter and he has coached a lot of these players through the national emerging talent programme.

“The development team games against the Netherlands were crucial because for someone like Ethan Day, he did really well in those games and Will Ramsay was another one. 

“To be fair to Will, he was very unlucky not to go to the last tournament as he just missed out and he went away and worked hard.

“Jayden is someone who came into the system a little later, so hasn’t come right through the system, but we have been impressed with some of his recent performances. We were at the FA Disability Cup and he shone in that and was excellent. 

“They are players we know well and I’m a big believer in the saying ‘if you are good enough, then you are old enough’. 

“It will be great for them and the good thing for me is they have really top-end players to learn from, not only in the games but also during training.”

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The downside of any squad selection is that there will be players left hugely disappointed at missing out.

Dale Smith was unavailable due to injury and the likes of Thomas Page, Cameron Osburn and Ryan Kay all narrowly missed out on selection.

Smith added: “I believe all good coaches should speak to the players who were in line for selection, and I spoke to the three of them. They made it easy for me in a way because they were very good in the way they accepted it, even though they were very disappointed.

“They are on the standby list and if anything happens between now and going then those kinds of players could come in.

“It is never easy and unfortunately it is the part of the job which is not nice. But the good thing with all these guys is they are of an age where it is only for this tournament, and they can come back into the squad.”

You can hear Smith’s thoughts on the EURO draw here and reports from all of England CP’s games at the IFCPF EURO will be available on

England Cerebral Palsy squad for the 2023 IFCPF European Championship

1 Giles Moore, 12 Reegan McMillan

Defenders: 6 Matt Crossen ©, 7 James Blackwell, 8 Harry Baker, 13 Matt Robinson

Midfielders: 2 Liam Irons, 4 Sam Dewhirst, 5 Mason Dunbar, 10 Aaron Lucas, 14 Ethan Day

Forwards: 3 David Porcher, 9 Jayden Kenyon, 11 Will Ramsay