England Cerebral Palsy star Dale Smith has revealed a trip to watch his beloved Manchester City led to him starting out on his Three Lions journey.
Smith is part of the Three Lions squad currently in Argentina for the World Championships and scored two goals in Monday’s impressive 11-0 victory over Japan.
- IFCPF CP World Championship
- 2pm BST, Wednesday 13 September 2017
- Stadium J. G Funes, San Luis, Argentina
And the lifelong City fan and season ticket holder admits it was a chance encounter before a game at the Etihad Stadium four years ago which put him on the road for this month’s trip to San Luis.
“I went to a Man City game and there was an activity outside the ground, which recorded how powerful your shot was,” he revealed.
“I just had a go at it and one of the lads there noticed I had a disability, he had Cerebral Palsy too and played for North West Regional, so he told me about it and asked me to come down to training.
“From there, I went to the England trials so it all happened pretty quickly and before you know it, I was in the squad.”
Prior to that Smith had grown up playing for local clubs such as Fletcher Moss, on the same turf where fellow England stars such as Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck first cut their teeth, being fully unaware of the football development programmes in place for people with CP.
“I played mainstream football all my life for my local teams, Fletcher Moss and Stretford Victoria, from the age of five onwards,” he explained.
“I didn’t know about the CP programme at all until I went along to the North West Regional training and found out about it.
“It’s been great for me, playing for England is a dream and I couldn’t have wrote it to be honest with everything that’s happened over the last three or four years.