Roy Hodgson may be more used to life in the fast lane of international football, but on Thursday he enjoyed a more leisurely pace at St. George’s Park.
Having guided England to a perfect ten wins out of ten in Euro 2016 qualifying, Hodgson was back at the Three Lions training HQ to run the rule over another team.
After being awarded the top prize at the inaugural FA Mars Just Play awards, Cottingham Rangers Walking Football Club won an exclusive coaching session with the England boss.
Players from the Yorkshire-based outfit arrived at St. George’s Park where they were greeted by Hodgson, before the former Fulham and Liverpool manager took them through some training practices and shared some advice from nearly forty years of coaching experience.
The players then had the chance to try things out in a game on the national football centre’s indoor 3G pitch.
“The players have been fantastic today,” said Hodgson, who will soon be preparing his own team for friendlies against Spain and France in November.
“The Just Play scheme as a whole has been great at increasing football participation across the country and I believe grassroots football is crucial for the health of the English game.”
Cottingham Rangers Walking Football Club was the first of its kind in the region. Set up in 2014, the team is now affiliated with the local community club, Cottingham Rangers.
The club recently held its first ever walking football festival for participants who are 50 years of age or above.
And Rangers representative Geoff Goliker says winning the coaching session with the England manager was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for the team.
“Playing on the pitch at St George’s Park in the footsteps of sporting greats is a real inspiration and a million miles away from our pitch in East Riding,” said Goliker.
“We were over the moon to win the top prize at the Mars Just Play Awards back in the summer.
“The opportunity to be coached by Roy Hodgson is a once in a lifetime experience for the lads on the team.”
The FA Mars Just Play awards took place in the summer and celebrated the contribution of local clubs and individuals to grassroots football through the Just Play initiative.
Nationally, The FA Mars Just Play programme was set up to increase participation in adult football and it reached its aim of offering one million opportunities to participate in a local Just Play kickabout in July, two years ahead of its 2018 target.
The initiative has also announced its new goal - over a million attendances at a Just Play kickabout by 2018.
To take part in one of these fun and friendly Mars Just Play sessions, click here to find your nearest venue.