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Published 21 September 2023 6 min read
England Para Teams

World Deaf Championship preview: 'We're like brothers...we don't fear anyone'

Written by:

Frank Smith

England Deaf Men players Harry Boorman and Rylan Casey preview the World Deaf Football Championship

Harry Boorman and Rylan Casey have stated England are heading to Malaysia and the World Deaf Football Championships in search of gold.

The Para Lions are one of eight teams competing in Kuala Lumpur over the coming weeks, with Sam Manoochehri’s side getting their campaign underway on Saturday against Australia (kick-off 1.30pm BST).

Group games against Nigeria on Monday (9.30am BST) and Gabon on Wednesday (1.30pm BST) will follow, and both Boorman and Casey believe their England side are capable of going all the way out in Malaysia.

Boorman said: “I'm absolutely buzzing for my first World Cup. I've worked so hard for it and we've had to wait for it for quite a long time because it should've been in 2020 but then COVID hit. So it's been three years of hard work to get to this point.”

He continued: “Personally, I just want to go out there and make my family, friends and everyone around me proud. That's the main thing for me.

“But as a team, there's no reason we can’t go out there and show everybody what we can do and come away with gold.”

Rylan Casey is heading to his second World Championship full of confidence
Rylan Casey is heading to his second World Championship full of confidence

It is a view shared by Casey, who first started playing football at the age of three at South Shore FC in Blackpool and is heading to his second World Championship, having represented Great Britain as a 16 year old.

The 23 year old said: “We've had a lot of training camps leading into this and I feel prepared and I feel ready.

“Everyone in the group gets on so well and my expectation is that we can be number one, that we can win the World Cup.”

He continued: “I can’t describe what it feels like to wear the England jersey. It's been a dream since I was a child so it's a dream come true – and the dream isn’t over yet!”

For Boorman, his footballing journey started at the age of four, with his mum and grandad taking him to Hinckley United each weekend.

Harry Boorman is one of 20 players named in Sam Manoochehri's squad
Harry Boorman is one of 20 players named in Sam Manoochehri's squad

The defender enjoyed a lot of success at Hinckley but his love for the game really went up a notch when he joined up with the England Deaf team for the first time for a camp in Great Yarmouth back in 2019 – the same year he represented his country at the EURO.

Boorman said: “I probably really fell in love with football when I met the deaf lads to be honest. I'd always enjoyed playing football and it was my hobby but when I met the deaf boys, it was more like ‘I really want to play now’.”

He continued: “I was only 18 [when I went to my first England camp] and I didn’t know any deaf boys in my area so it was a big moment for me to walk in but all the boys helped me from the word go and were always positive, and I've not looked back since!”

If England are to win the World Deaf Football Championships, the togetherness of the squad will be key.

And, like Casey, Boorman spoke of the close bond between the Para Lions players.

He said: “We're all like brothers. Sometimes that means you get heated moments but we are brothers at the end of the day, we always stick together and we'll go out there and fight for one another, put our bodies on the line and we don’t fear anyone!”

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