England and Wales captains focus on Futsal future

Saturday 22 Mar 2014
Ballinger and Kitson ahead of last year's meeting

England Futsal captain Luke Ballinger and his Welsh counterpart Sion Kitson lead their teams into action on Sunday knowing the future of Futsal in Britain is looking bright.

The home nations meet at the Cardiff City House of Sport in what is only their second meeting at senior level since last year’s 1-0 victory for the Three Lions in Hereford.

And with both players having featuring in The FA National Futsal League since it was created in 2008, they have seen just how far the sport has developed since then.


Wales v England

Futsal International
4.15pm, Sunday 23 March
Cardiff City House Of Sport



"I think the FAW and The FA are doing some fantastic work to embed Futsal as part of the development of young football players at a grassroots level," said Kitson.

"This will only help to see more young players consider Futsal and hopefully support the international sides.

"In England, the Super League has seen the playing standard rise and the best teams playing each other on a regular basis can only benefit everyone involved.

"At the elite end in Wales, the new National League has progressed quickly and the standard of the teams is improving all the time which in turn is seeing new players enter into the national team with increased experience."

England Futsal captain Luke Ballinger in action against Lithuania.

Ballinger will captain England in Cardiff on Sunday


And while Ballinger is in agreement with his University of Bath FC team-mate, he also has a clear desire to see the game in England move further forward.

"It is great to see that the Welsh FA now have a national league system in place and this will no doubt help grow the game and the ability of players in their country," he said.

“In England, I feel that the league system needs to change from the three regional leagues to a national league, where the best sides and players are playing against each other week in week out."

Returning to the prospect of Sunday’s international derby, Ballinger admits that expectations are high within Peter Sturgess’s squad.

With the UEFA Futsal Euro qualifiers taking place next January, the early preparations are already being made.

"We have been meeting up at St George's Park and have played a few international games this season where we have laid out our plan to try and recreate what happened in Lithuania [where England qualified to the Main Round of the Euros] last year," revealed Ballinger.

Wales captain Sion Kitson in action for the Red Dragons.

Kitson plays in The FA National Futsal League for Bath


"The feeling there was amazing and we all want to repeat that. The reward of playing against the best nations and players will always help you work harder in training and perform better in the friendly fixtures.

"Games against Wales are important as it develops the 'must-win' attitude because when it comes to the qualifiers, that is what those games are all about."

Sunday's match between England and Wales promises to be anything but friendly, but it should be an entertaining spectacle with a number of plots and rivalries to contend with and Ballinger and Kitson will play important parts in pushing their teams towards victory. 

The game kicks-off at 4.15pm on Sunday 23 March at the Cardiff City House of Sport. Tickets can be bought on the door.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels