Paralympic squads named
Paralympic fever came to Wembley Stadium on Saturday as The Football Association and the British Paralympic Association announced the Blind and Cerebral Palsy football squads for London 2012 later this year.
The announcement took place at half-time during The FA Cup with Budweiser Semi-Final tie that saw Liverpool beat Everton thanks to a late goal from Andy Carroll.
The Paralympic Blind GB 5-a-side squad features seven players from England’s successful 2010 World Championship campaign in Hereford while the Cerebral Palsy seven-a-side squad includes Merseyside’s Michael Barker who finished top scorer at the CP World Cup in Holland last year.
David Clarke, who featured in a Sainsbury’s Million Kids Challenge advert with David Beckham last November, is delighted to have cemented his place in the side: “It’s the realisation of a life time dream and a unique chance to compete at the pinnacle of my sport and on home soil in front of our own fans,” said Clarke who has 134 England and GB caps to his name.
Clarke skippered England to fourth place at the 2010 World Championship and is hoping to lead Paralympic GB to a medal this September: “We have a fantastically talented squad which has consistently delivered at major European Championships over the last two decades and we are all prepared to die for the cause to deliver a team outcome which will make the country proud.
“Selection is merely the start of the hard slog toward a medal however and the real work begins now to achieve what we all unanimously crave,” said Clarke who has 134 international caps for both England and GB to his name.
The FA’s Head of Disability Football, Jeff Davis, added: “To be selected for a Paralympics in your own country is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it’s up to both squads to make the most of that privileged position and make London 2012 a Games to remember.”
Cerebral Palsy: seven-a-side
Craig Connell (GK)
Billy Thompson (GK)
Blind Squad: seven-a-side
Dan James (GK)
Lewis Skyers (GK)