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Charlton the younger in England bid; TOMMY, 71, WANTS TO FOLLOW IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF BOBBY AND JACK.

Byline: CHRIS SLATER

THE brother of England World Cup heroes Bobby and Jack Charlton could be set to follow in their footsteps and play for his country.

Tommy Charlton, now 71, has had trials for the England Walking Football team.

Tommy, who has six grandchildren, currently plays for The Mature Millers walking football club in Rotherham, south Yorkshire.

And despite his siblings believing he's mad for playing into his old age - he turned out to try and impress coaches at the trials at Burnley's training ground on Saturday.

Now he is waiting to hear if he will be able to follow in his brothers' footsteps and pull on the Three Lions for the over-60s team.

Tommy, a former winger in amateur football, had to retire aged 24 due to injury.

He was 20 when he watched his two older brothers, including United legend Sir Bobby, help England beat West Germany 4-2 and win the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley.

He said: "I'm very excited about the trials and showing the management some of my skills. It's going to be very difficult to make it into the squad as there are so many experienced walking footballers plying their trade at the moment.

"Walking football is a rapidly growing sport and has so many positives because of its impact on having a healthy body and a healthy mind.

"I love playing the game and often get asked if I'm mad by Bobby, Jack and my family, but I've built great relationships thanks to walking football and hope to break into the England team."

Paul Carr, a mature student at the University College of Football Business (UCFB) based at the educator's campus at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium, is the founder of The Walking Football Association (WFA) - the national governing body of the sport.

He says Tommy has his work cut out to represent England's over-60s during the first walking football international match later this year.

Paul, 62, who is studying for a BA honours in Football Business and Finance at UCFB said: "It's great that Tommy and former Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy are trialling, but they will be playing alongside and against a number of experienced walking footballers who are all keen to put the England shirt on and play in what will be the sport's first international match."

With more than 1,100 clubs and an estimated 35,000 players, walking football is the fastest growing sport in the UK. With teams of either five or six, it has rules that outlaw all running and allows either no contact or only minimal physical contact between players. Over-head height restrictions and indirect free-kicks ensure that the sport is played safely with full consideration to the participants' age. John Croot, who created the game, sits on the WFA board of directors - a not-for-profit organisation - alongside Paul Carr and UCFB chairman Brendan Flood.

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Tommy Charlton, baby brother of World Cup legends Bobby and Jack Charlton (right), has had trials for England's walking football team

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 16, 2018
Words:502
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