Meet the England Powerchair squad at the 2023 World Cup
England Powerchair captain Jon Bolding gives us the lowdown on each member of the squad taking part in the 2023 FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup in Australia
England Powerchair kick off their 2023 FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup campaign on Sunday against Argentina and we sat down with captain Jon Bolding to get to know each member of the eight-man squad.
Bolding – who celebrates his 36th birthday today – will be competing in his fourth World Cup and headed to Sydney, Australia, full of confidence they could improve on the third-place finish they secured in 2017.
The Para Lions’ innovative playing style helped them secure a first major trophy in 2019 when they won the EPFA Nations Cup, powerchair football’s equivalent of the European Championships.You can watch England Powerchair’s first game of the 2023 FIPFA World Cup against Argentina at 14:30 AEDT / 4.30am BST in the video below and the other matches will be shown live across two different YouTube channels based on whether the Para Lions are on Court A or Court B, with the full schedule found here.
Squad number: 4
We call him the Silent Assassin. Ed is not the most talkative person and can be very quiet but he is a magician. He does things we don't think are possible. He has been part of the England squad for several years now and has a wide range of experience. He's won a lot at club level and was part of the EURO-winning team with us in Finland. He assisted both of the goals we scored in the final.
Winger and goalkeeper
Squad number: 5
We call him the old boy in the group as he's in his 40s. I always wind him up, asking him things like if he is going to bed early to watch Coronation Street and Emmerdale, but Dave is a big part of the England squad. His last appearance with England was back in 2014 and then he dropped out for a while. But over the last year or two he's really upped his game again. I'm very proud of him because he has worked so hard to get back in the England squad. He never gave up. He's obviously over the moon to be part of the squad going to the World Cup and he's one of those sturdy players who you can rely on. He's also great to have around the squad because he has been there and done it so he can pass on his experiences to everyone, especially the younger lads we've got in the team. I'd say he is the James Milner of our team.
Chris Gordon (vice-captain)Goalkeeper
Squad number: 7
Chris is our vice-captain and helps me be who I am on the pitch because he is so calm. He intelligently works things out very quickly and when we think things are going wrong in the game, he'll come up with a small tweak. That's usually the manager's job, but Chris has got that managerial mindset as well because of leading the West Brom team. Chris is a real ball-playing goalkeeper, where he can play a simple pass or make a hard pass look simple. He can even score goals if we need him to too. The formation we play suits Chris perfectly and he always produces great performances. He's a fantastic lad and a great role model for kids coming up through the ranks. He's always striving to improve, both on and off the pitch.
Squad number: 9
Marcus is a bit of a maverick. Marcus might not be the best at picking up a drill in training or might be late on the odd occasion but when it comes to those crucial moments, he delivers – for example in the EUROs final when he scored two goals and then scored the winning penalty. We can always rely on Marcus in the massive games to do what we ask him to do. He is a tremendous player.
Squad number: 10
Dan is the youngest member of our squad at just 14 years old and his rise to the England squad has been tremendous over the last year or two. He's been part of the development squad and this year, since he's been in the senior squad, he's achieved more than anyone could ever have expected at this point in his career. We call him 'Harry Potter' because off the pitch he looks a bit like Harry Potter but on the pitch he is a wizard as well. For his age, he understands things so well and picks things up so quickly. Our manager Colin Gordon tells him something and he knows exactly what he needs to do. I know he's only 14, but he's probably one of the most intelligent players we've got in the squad. He's a real credit to himself. He watches so many YouTube videos of powerchair football, not just of himself but of other players, because he is so keen to learn
Squad number: 11
Tyler is very new to the squad. He's done well in our development days this year and has really shone. He’s a very intelligent player with a bright future ahead of him. It's quite tough for him because we can only have two PF2s on the pitch at one time and both Chris and I – the captain and vice-captain – are PF2s. This is his first major tournament and will be a huge learning curve for him. Having the chance to train and play with England will really help him and we all see him stepping in for me when I retire. He has the ability and now it is just a case of him gaining that confidence and keep improving like he has done so far, like all players. He's definitely one to watch.
Squad number: 19
Brad is a technician. He studies videos tirelessly and he's always trying to improve himself. He's been tremendous for our club team Aspire this season. He was out of the England squad a couple of years ago but he’s worked his way back in over the last six months due to his form in the Premiership, which he helped us win in his first season. He's very particular with the way he works and the quality he expects from himself. He gives us a different skill on the wing and he is a very intelligent and bubbly guy who comes through with the banter as well.
Jon Bolding (captain)
Squad number: 8
I'd like to describe myself as a leader. As captain, I try to look out for everyone. I always strive to improve and I feel I'm at the top of my game right now. We won the league and the cup last year with Aspire and those of us who play for the club are looking to carry that momentum into this World Cup. This is my fourth World Cup and I'm positive that with this team, we can bring the trophy home.
England Powerchair v Argentina
Watch the live stream as both teams start their 2023 FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup campaign
And finally, how do you assess England's chances of winning the 2023 FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup?
This is the best squad I've ever been a part of heading into a World Cup and coming off the back of winning the EUROs in 2019, when we beat the reigning world champions France, it has given us huge confidence going into this World Cup that if we play the right way and we play to the best of our ability, we can come away victorious. It is now down to us to deliver on the pitch. I firmly believe if we play to our full potential then we will come home champions with the squad we have.
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