'I am excited by this whole England Deaf team and squad'
England Deaf beat Germany 3-0 at AFC Telford United's New Bucks Head stadium on Friday
Para Lions head coach Andy Smith is excited by the future of the England Deaf team after almost 1,000 supporters saw his side impress during their 3-0 victory over Germany.
Smith was full of praise for AFC Telford United and the Shropshire FA after they hosted Friday night’s international, in what was England Deaf’s first home match since coming under the FA’s leadership.
Harry Boorman, captain Jamie Clarke and Abdou Jobe all scored at New Bucks Head stadium as the Para Lions controlled the game despite being down to ten men for more than half of the match.
Smith said: “From day one of the planning, Telford have been really welcoming to us. They have hosted internationals before so they are used to it which helped. The pitch was great and Friday nights under the lights just made it even more special.
“And the Shropshire FA, from a community point of view, were absolutely brilliant. They involved the deaf community in their area, and we had distinguished guests from across the FA there as well who work across para football.
“After the game, it took us over 20 minutes to get the players back into the changing room because they were mingling with so many of their family, friends and supporters.
“From a coach’s point of view, the fitness levels and the ability we showed were really top-end. The players showed that they are elite athletes and that is important for us because we work hard on that, with things like the recent multi-squad trip to Tenerife.
“Even when we went down to ten men, we were still able to get around the pitch and they didn’t trouble us at all because the boys were able to last the whole 90 minutes.”
England took the lead inside the opening ten minutes when a free-kick from the left was met powerfully by the head of Boorman.
It was then 2-0 ten minutes later when a lapse in the German defence saw Clarke score with a low shot from 15 yards out.
And the impressive start from England continued when they made it 3-0 inside the opening 25 minutes when another free-kick, this time from the right, resulted in Jobe arriving to steer the ball home with his right foot.
The Para Lions were reduced to ten men shortly before half-time when Rylan Casey received a straight red card for a foul.
Despite being down to ten men, England continued to control the second half as their impressive ability and fitness levels were clear to see.
Germany had the chance to claw a goal back with a quarter of an hour remaining when they were awarded a spot-kick but England goalkeeper Sam Edwards produced a fine save to ensure the Para Lions would finish with a clean sheet.
After the match, the players were able to mingle with the 892 supporters in attendance and thank them for their incredible support.
England Deaf team will be looking to appoint a new head coach soon, with Smith also having a more wide-ranging role at the FA, and there will be further camps and fixtures in the coming months as the players build towards the World Deaf Football Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in September and October.
The Para Lions have already been drawn against Mali and Thailand in their group, with games pencilled in for September 23 and 25 respectively, with another team due to face England on September 27.
With dangerous sides like Turkey, France and Ukraine among those likely to progress to the knockout stages, Smith was excited to see what the England Deaf team would be capable at this year’s tournament.
He said: “We will want to go as far as we can. It is about getting out of the group stages and then knockout football is always in the hands of the gods.
“We have played Germany and USA and looked comfortable in both games and we have a really good and exciting team who on their day, are very, very good.
“I am excited by this whole team and squad. Not just for this World Cup but across the whole programme.
What a night, thank you to all those who came. A fantastic 3-0 win against Germany infront of a record breaking crowd 💪🏻❤️⚽️. https://t.co/gtrNe6wuf2— Joe Dixon (@joedixoncoach_) March 25, 2023
“From the 16 and 17-year-olds all the way through to the more experienced players, we have a really good crop of players coming through and I expect us to be strong.”
England Deaf squad against Germany
Sam Edwards, Harry Boorman, Matt Oaten, Joe Dixon, Drew Rowley, Rylan Casey, Cavell Donaldson, Philip Swift, Jamie Clarke, Abdou Jobe, Matthew McQueeney, Gino King, Will Palmer, Cole Neil, Josh Felman, Ellis McLean, Tommy Hobson
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