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Stamford AFC footballer Jon Challinor has been selected for the England Seniors squad for the World Cup in Thailand





Daniels legend Jon Challinor is heading off on a footballing honeymoon to represent England.

The Stamford stalwart has been selected in the 25-man international squad for the World Seniors Cup in Thailand.

He jetted out on Wednesday for the 10-day tournament - just days after getting married at the weekend.

Jon Challinor. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Jon Challinor. Photo: Rob O'Brien

The newly-weds had decided that the opportunity was too good to turn down for the 43-year-old who made his 400th appearance for the Daniels last season.

Challinor explained: "It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks.

"This didn't come at the best of times but it is something you have to do because you don't know what is going to happen further down the line.

"My wife told me that I had to do it and was really understanding about it. It is an experience that you have to do and go and see what it is all about.

"It is an opportunity to represent your country and, when you get that chance, you have to take it and I'm really appreciative for getting the chance to do it."

It was Stamford manager Graham Drury who set the wheels in motion for Challinor's international call.

Jon Challinor with Stamford manager Graham Drury and then-Mickleover boss John McGrath after making his 400th appearance for the Daniels. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Jon Challinor with Stamford manager Graham Drury and then-Mickleover boss John McGrath after making his 400th appearance for the Daniels. Photo: Rob O'Brien

He contacted ex-Daniels player Mark Smitheringale - who is part of the England Seniors' management set-up - about his player's availability.

Challinor commented: "The gaffer put me forward and I appreciate that because that it is how it all came about.

"There is a high calibre of players so for me to be involved and be considered to play is an honour.

"The pull is that I'm still playing and, the more of us like that, is an advantage and the opportunity is too good to turn down.

"I hold Graham in high regard anyway but him putting me forward for this shows how he feels about me as well."

Challinor will be part of the Seniors side that are reigning champions and again favourites to retain their crown.

Jon Challinor. Photo: Rob O'Brien
Jon Challinor. Photo: Rob O'Brien

They won the title for a record sixth time last year and have a number of ex-professionals in their ranks.

Alex Russell, Deon Burton, Lloyd Owusu, Barry Hayles and Luke McCormick are among those to have featured for a side who are governed by the Football Association.

Challinor added: "It will be a great experience and an honour to do it. I will enjoy it and see where we go with it.

"We are going out there to represent England and, any chance to put the Three Lions on, then you have to do it.

"Other countries are trying to up their game with ex-professionals because everyone wants to win it and it is taken seriously.

"You want that achievement on your CV and, anything you do in football, you want to win.

"Anyone representing their country will want to win and that will show in the mentality and calibre of the players because they are winners.

"If you've played international football at a certain level or full-time in the game then you have a mentality of wanting to win every game.

"It will be tough but we're going there as reigning champions so want to hold onto that mantle."

The international call-up will complete a hat-trick of honours for Challinor who has also played for his country at schoolboy level and has caps for the England C team.

The format of the tournament sees England play three group games with the aim of progressing to the semi-finals and then final.

Stamford have sponsored Challinor for the trip and boss Drury was proud of his player's selection.

He said: "It's fantastic for Chally and it's a big recognition for everything that he has done for the club.

"It's a brilliant achievement and I'm really pleased to have been part of helping to make it happen because if anyone deserves it then it's Chally."



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