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Matty and Jon Challinor

Matty helps England Veterans' football team win the World Cup

Gareth Southgate’s England side might have struggled for attacking inspiration during the second half of Sunday’s Euro 2024 opener against Serbia, but York College sport tutor Matty Wain claimed a goal and an assist for the Three Lions’ Veterans team that won this month’s World Seniors Cup in Thailand.

After opening his international account in the pre-tournament friendly against a Pattaya XI, Matty (pictured right with fellow squad member and former York City midfielder Jon Challinor) went on to set up a goal for ex-Burnley and Crewe striker Steve Jones in the 3-0 group game victory over Vietnam.

That match was one of two that Sim Balk Lane’s sprightly 47-year-old played in during the competition which saw England beat New Zealand 1-0 in the final courtesy of another Jones goal and he admitted: “Getting on the pitch was special, as was lining up for the National Anthem and really getting that feeling that you were representing your country and doing something that’s a little unique. Those were great moments for me.”

The UEFA B Licence-qualified coach had a dual role in Thailand, as he combined playing with off-field responsibilities as part of the management team for the eight-team tournament.

On that experience, he added: “I really enjoyed analysing games and standing up in front of a group of former Premier League stars knowing that a tiny bit of information I was giving them on our opponents might have helped us across the line.”

The team played five 80-minute games in six days and matches were played out in temperatures that exceeded 37C with Matty laughing: “We were sweating just putting our socks on!”

Another highlight of the trip was visiting under-privileged Thai school children, where the squad delivered a coaching session and handed out football kits that had been donated to them before flying out.