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Former Herne Bay captain Neil Brown to skipper England Walking Football Team

A Herne Bay footballer will live out his boyhood dream of playing for England this weekend.

Neil Brown, 54, will play for his country against Italy at the Amex Stadium, Brighton, in the first ever walking football international.

Brown will also captain the England over-50s team in the match on Sunday.

Herne Bay walking footballer Neil Brown, right
Herne Bay walking footballer Neil Brown, right

He said: “When you are younger it is your boyhood dream to play for England and for it to come all those years later will be great. It is a proud

“I was happy with the news I would be selected but then I got a phone call from the manager who said I was the type of person he was looking for to captain the side.”

Brown turned out for Gillingham as a schoolboy and went on to play for Dover and Ashford in the Southern League and then for Maidstone, Ramsgate and Herne Bay.

He is now part of the all-conquering Herne Bay walking football team who have won English, British and European titles. Brown's team-mate Neil Davey, a striker, is also in the squad while in goal for Italy will be former Dover, Sittingbourne and Herne Bay keeper Efrem Ebbli.

Brown said: “You can’t beat playing normal football but walking football is the next best thing.

“Walking football has been going for two or three years and at Herne Bay we have won just about everything.

“The sport is growing all the time and more and more people are starting to play it.”

Brown had to come through two trials to make the England squad. He will now lead the side out against an experienced Italian side in a replica of the 1966 World Cup

He already has his sights on the next goal of playing in a major tournament for his

He added: “The Italy squad have been together for a couple of years now so it will be a tough match but I am looking forward to the experience.

“We are going up on the Saturday to have a training session together before having a meal with the Italians in the evening. I’m sure the friendliness will end

“There will be a walking football European Championship next year and World Cup in 2020, so that is the aim for me

Walking football created a media frenzy in March when Tommy Charlton, brother of Sir Bobby and Jack, attended trials in Burnley hoping to follow in his brothers’ footsteps.

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