Third Charlton brother poised for England debut, aged 72

Tommy Charlton is set to follow in the footsteps of his brothers Bobby and Jack when he represents the England Over-60s walking football team against Italy at Brighton on Sunday.

Charlton is set to make his England debut at the age of 72 in what will be the first walking football international match.

The grandfather of six earned his place in the squad after impressing during a trial at Burnley in March.

Jack Charlton.

England are set to play in a red strip which is almost identical to the kit worn by Charlton's older brothers in the win over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley.

"I never in a million years thought that I'd follow in the footsteps of my brothers and represent England," said Charlton.

"I was shocked when I got the call, but am delighted to be in the squad for the first-ever walking football international against Italy.

"There are so many good walking footballers in this country and it will be an honour to play alongside them and against a strong Italian side.

"When I get my boots and the England strip on I'm sure it will be a great feeling.

I just hope we can put in a good performance against Italy and impress the fans who come out to watch us at what is a brilliant football stadium.

Charlton currently plays for The Mature Millers club in Rotherham and backed the efforts of the Walking Football Association, launched in December 2016, and sporting educator UCFB (University Campus of Football Business) to help the popular game continue to develop.

The sport has very specific rules, with no running allowed and allows either no contact or only minimal physical contact between players as well as over-head height restrictions and indirect free-kicks.

Bobby Charlton.

There are over 1,100 clubs and an estimated 35,000 players participating in walking football - making it the fastest-growing sport in the UK.

Now played in some 35 countries, walking football is also set to hold its own World Cup and European Championship, both in England over the next two years.

"Walking football is a sport that has given me so much," said Charlton, who was just 20 when he watched his two elder brothers help England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra-time.

"It's social, promotes better health and is played in the right spirit."

The Over-50s and Over-60s matches between England and Italy will take place at Brighton's Amex Stadium on May 13.

Kick-off is 10am, with all ticket proceeds going to Prostate Cancer UK and Football Aid.

You can book tickets to the first walking football internationals here.

- PA


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