You’re off to the FA Disability Cup Finals this weekend Jamie, with the Amputee Final on Sunday. How much are you looking forward to it?
Yes, it’s a big chance to go out there and win something for the team and take a trophy home this season. The lads got to the Final last year, but I wasn’t involved then because of my age as I was only 14. But this year, the club have managed to push me on and get me into the squad and I’m looking forward to the game.
For the players who were involved in the defeat to Peterborough last year, has there been much discussion about how to go one better this time?
A little, but not much. We’ve just come back from playing in the Champions League in Tibilisi and in our preparations for that we’ve been doing everything we can to make sure we stand a good chance, so hopefully we can take all of that into the Finals.
Do you know much about this season’s opponents, Portsmouth?
I’ve played them twice this season in the league and they’ve got some fast players and good skilful players, so it’s going to be a hard game.
You’re one of the youngest players in the competition, so tell us how you got involved in amputee football?
Well, when I was younger I always wanted to play football but nobody ever let me play for their team or in a match so that was frustrating. But then one day when I was at a Bolton Wanderers match, just as a fan, I was approached by the England manager at the time, Pete Wild, and he asked me if I’d be interested in having a look at amputee football. I went ahead with it and went to my first training session in Leyland and ever since then, it’s all kicked-off and I’ve gone on from there.
Since then, you’ve gone on to play for Manchester City and Everton’s amputee teams, it seems like you’ve come far in a short space of time?
At City, I was the captain for the junior squad and we won the title with them three times in a row and being there really gave me the push I needed to progress further. The chance to move to Everton was great, as I’d grown up with them and when they offered me the chance to play in the league and other competitions, that was great.
You’ve also had a taste of international football with England’s junior squads and are now in the U23s…
I played for the Talent ID squad which is a group for players aged 12-16 and at the time there wasn’t an U23s squad but there was an England development squad, which was like a standby group for the seniors if anyone got injured. This year, we now have an U23 squad and I’ve been picked in the 13 and we’ll be playing in a tournament in Germany against Poland and Turkey later this year, so that should be good.
For you personally, how important has being able to play amputee football been?
It’s taken over my life really, football is everything for me now. Everybody in that squad wants to be in that first team and everybody is working just as hard as me. So going from nothing and being told that I couldn’t play in normal teams with clubs or school to then being picked for England, it’s been a great journey and I’ve enjoyed it the whole way.
And you’re also becoming something of a role model for a lot of younger amputee players to see that there is a pathway for amputee footballers to get involved in the game?
We have a lot of young players coming through, aged from five and above, the amputee game is much stronger now and they look up to us. So it’s our job to teach them the right paths and hopefully get them into teams and improving.FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DISABILITY FOOTBALL