Winning England walking football debut as captain for Rugby's Chris Clements
After a lifetime playing and coaching football Chris Clements never thought he would be putting on an England shirt and captaining his country.
But the 57-year-old led the national Over 50s walking football team to victory in the Nordic Cup in Sweden at the weekend, with victories over the home nation and Norway.
“I’m still pinching myself,” said the Level 2 FA Coach, who has coached at Rugby Borough and Daventry Town for over 16 years and played for both teams when he was younger.
“I was honoured to serve in the Armed Forces for my country and feel privileged to have played and captained England at my age .
“I’m very proud to be able to say I’ve played for England and encourage anyone who has played football to give it a go and carry on playing the beautiful game.”
Chris was selected from an initial 489 players at a series of trials and was delighted not only to make his debut but to also be appointed captain.
“I never thought I would have the chance to play for England,” he said.
“It’s been quite surreal. Even if I never get to play for my country again, I have two England caps but there’s a World Cup in Italy in July and if I am selected for that I will be over the moon.”
The Over 50s squad flew out with the Over 60s (who also won) and Over 70s players and enjoyed the weekend tournaments together. An England women’s team were also competing.
In walking football players aren’t allowed to run but other wise it is played in the traditional manner.
Locally Chris plays for walking teams at Northampton Town FC and Crick Football Club, both set up about five years ago.
“Both my sons played for Rugby Borough and Daventry Town and it’s great to see both clubs now introducing walking football which is good for the community and all age groups over 50,” he added.
“Walking football is a great way to keep fit and healthy.
“For me I would say give it a go, it can produce improvements in your fitness and aerobic power - with fantastic mental health benefits.”
Since leaving the Armed Forces, Chris has worked in the electrical industry for over 30 years, for ABB as the UK Sales & Marketing Manager.