FOOTBALL: Worthing's Matt is England vice-captain

WORTHING Football Club's Matt Whitehead has his sights set on retaining the Centenary Shield and captaining the England Under-18s Schools team this year.

Whitehead, who has been made vice captain, in his second year with the side, played 90 minutes of their 4-1 win against fellow joint holders of the Centenary Shield, Northern Ireland, in the opening match of this year's tournament in Belfast on Friday.

The 17-year-old played 80 minutes at left-back before a 10-minute spell at left-midfield.

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He said: "We came out flying while they were still in the changing rooms and we were four goals up by half-time. I think they got a rollicking from their manager as in the second half they got an early goal and played a lot better, but we shut up shop.

"I thought they were going to be our biggest test, but I suppose you can't tell how much a team will change from year to year. The result puts us into a great position at the top of the table for our match against Wales next Friday."

Being one of three seniors in the side, Whitehead had hoped he would be in with a chance of being named this year's captain: "I had a glimmer of hope, but Nick Hancock got it and he appointed me as vice.

"I still see it as a lot of responsibility to drive everyone else on, and I can see myself taking over at some point, even if it's for 10 minutes at the end if Nick is subbed and that would just be a dream come true."

The side warmed up for their Shield tournament with a tour to Malaga, where they beat CF Malaga 4-1 and defeated Gibraltar 1-0 at the national stadium.


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