Para Football
Para Football

Para Lions youngster Matt Robinson reflects on his first CP World Cup experience

England CP's Matt Robinson has been a regular for the Para Lions at the 2019 IFCPF World Cup in Spain in what is his first major competition. The 21-year-old from Penzance took the time out for a chat ahead of England's third-place game with Brazil...

Friday 19 Jul 2019
England's Matt Robinson has impressed in his first World Cup
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So, how’s the tournament been for you so far Matt?

It’s been excellent for me. I’d just like to thank Andy [Smith, England head coach] and Jeff [Davis, performance manager] for the opportunities they’ve given me, especially as I haven’t been in the squad for very long, six months if that. I’ve come into this tournament inexperienced and I’ve shown what I can do and they’re very pleased.

You’ve been a real regular in the starting line up, so that must be a great boost?

Yeah. Going into this World Cup, I didn’t expect to start as many games as I’ve started but I’m just willing to prove that if I am selected then I give 100 per cent for the players and the manager as well. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.

What’s been your favourite game of the tournament so far?

It’s hard to pick one, but I’d probably say the USA game in the quarter final. Again, not knowing the team before that game and then to start it, it was a chance I was very happy with and it was just such a big occasion to start in the quarter final. It’s every kid’s dream to be involved in the World Cup, full stop, but especially to start in the quarter final when there’s good players to pick from, it was a really boost.

Matt celebrates with his Para Lions team-mates during their quarter final win over USA

The semi-final defeat to Russia was a tough one to take, but they are one of the best teams in the world. How close are we to matching them?

The match the other night didn't go as we hoped or expected, but Russia are a top team as you say. I think we are closing the gap and strengthening our cause. We should be up there and I think we’ll be closer the next time we play them.

We play now Brazil for third place in our final match, having already played them in the group stages and narrowly losing 1-0. How’s the group feeling ahead of this game?

In the group game, it probably wasn’t our strongest team as we were without our captain Matt Crossen who was injured and we didn’t want to risk Liam Irons because he was on a yellow card. It was a mistake when we conceded the goal but we’re confident that won’t happen this time. Everyone’s now fully fit and raring to go and we can’t wait to get back out on the pitch and give it a go and hopefully bring that medal home.

You come from Cornwall and you’re the only player representing the south west area of England, so how proud does that make you?

100 per cent pride. It’s a long way for me to even get to training and I’ve put my heart and soul into this so I’ve been very dedicated to playing for England and it’s paid off. I’m here and I’ve made it to the World Cup, but I’ve got to keep going and hopefully this won’t be my first and last and there’ll be more to come in the future. It’s just been an honour to represent my region and my country and it makes me very proud.

The Para Lions will be hoping to finish the World Cup with third place medals when they face Brazil

How did you first get involved in CP football?

I was first involved when I was 13 and there was a trial day, when Martin Sinclair came down to be a special guest. He picked me out and then from there I had a trial with the South West and got through that as well. I played a couple of regional fixtures and Jeff picked me out and invited me up to the development squad. I must've performed well as Jeff and Andy said they would like me to join the senior set up and from there, it’s just taken off. I was pinching myself because it just happened so quickly from being in the U21s and moving up into the seniors and you’re training for the World Cup.

You can watch the IFCPF World Cup live on YouTube.

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By Nicholas Veevers