Jermaine Jenas and Mary Earps celebrate St. George's Day

Thursday 23 Apr 2015
Jenas and Earps at the Together for England Roadshow at St. George's Village in Somerset

The St. George’s flag bunting was flying proudly on Thursday as Jermaine Jenas and Mary Earps took the Together For England Roadshow to Somerset.

In celebration of St. George’s Day, where better to go than a village named after England’s patron saint?

And former Three Lions midfielder Jenas and England Women's Under-23s goalkeeper Earps were welcomed by children from the village’s school, excited by a day playing football in the sunshine.

Jermaine Jenas St George

Jenas gets involved in the Skills session

Dressing in white and red, over 200 pupils at St. George's VA Church Primary School took part in a fun FA Skills session run by the Somerset FA’s team of coaches, and picked up some tips from the international stars.

The day was the latest leg of the roadshows, which began in January and are aimed at using the power of football to inspire youngsters to play the game and follow the England national teams.

Fans are being encouraged to show their pride in their country and sign up for a free membership to the England Supporters Club.

Jenas and Earps, who by chance also went to the same school in Nottingham, were in no doubt about how important England is to them.

Ex-Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United midfielder Jenas, who made his Three Lions debut in 2003 and won 21 caps, said: "This is a day that reminds me of playing for England and just playing football.

Jenas and Earps

Former Becket School pupils Earps and Jenas chat

"When I see the St. George’s flag I think of my England shirts and it’s a day we should celebrate. What a great way to celebrate the day, playing football with these young children here."

He continued: "I remember growing up and every major tournament the flags would be out and kids would be wearing their kit. Things like that inspired me to want to be a footballer.

"Events like today, the whole feeling the kids will have for St. George’s Day, will hopefully help inspire players in generations to come."

Earps, the 22-year-old Bristol Academy keeper who has represented England at various age-groups, added: "A day that allows you to celebrate your country and your patriotism is something I’m proud to be a part of.

"I’ve represented England since I was young and it’s always amazing to pull the Three Lions on, so to be able to celebrate a day that revolves around our country is fantastic.

"It’s been a great day, the sun’s out, everyone has been playing football and having a good time and it’s great to see such a positive environment for young children to enjoy the game."

Mary Earps St George

Mary Earps with a young pupil from St. George's school

She added: "I went to the same school in Nottingham as Jermaine – obviously at different times! – so it was strange that we we’re both here in Somerset today.

"He’s had a fantastic career. Our school was particularly proud of pupils who went on to big things, and Jermaine was one of those people and would be a regular topic of conversation – someone whose footsteps other children could follow."

The day finished off in the assembly hall as Jenas and Earps were quizzed about their football careers.

The inevitable ‘Messi or Ronaldo’ poser came in, but as the young hands shot in the air to ask a question, one youngster aimed his to Jenas: "What was Bobby Robson like as a manager?" he said.

Jenas replied: "He was a great manager to play for. I remember one time going to his office to ask him why I wasn’t playing.

"We were talking for half an hour and I came out of it laughing hysterically, forgetting about everything I went in for and wanted to run through brick walls for him that weekend, whether I was playing or not!"

Jermaine Jenas and Mary Earps St George

Question Time for the England duo

And the pair continued to be probed by their young interrogators before the afternoon wrapped up in fitting style with a rather philosophical question from one of the youngest children: "Are you happy?" she asked.

And of course the answer was a resounding "yes" from both Jenas and Earps. And who couldn’t be happy playing football on a glorious sunny day?

If you want to show your pride in your nation and get behind the England teams, sign up for a free membership to the England Supporters Club today.

By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor St. George's, Somerset