Former Barrowford Celtic players help England retain the Home Nations cup

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TWO former Barrowford Celtic players both shone as England’s Under 19s Learning Disability squad retained the Home Nations championship.

Simon Reed and Josh Walne, who both played for Celtic’s Under 18s last season, helped Jon Whittingham’s side beat the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Auld Enemy Scotland at Loughborough University over Easter.

The pair, who attended Myerscough College, were put forward by coach Mario Michaels, and initially attended regional trials at the Liverpool FA.

Both were successful and went for the national trials held Lilleshall over a weekend in November, and were selected for the 20-man squad to take part in the Home Nations tournament.

Simon and Josh played in all three games - Simon at centre back and Josh at right back as England beat the Republic 4-0, Northern Ireland 7-0 and Scotland 5-3, with Simon on target against the Scots, taking the score to 4-2 by slotting into an empty net after breaking the offside trap following a partially cleared corner.

He was also unblucky not to score in the rout against Northern Ireland, crashing an effort from close range against the post.

After their success, Simon and Josh are now to attend two training camps, in July and August, prior to attending an invitational tournament in Sweden against hosts Sweden, Holland and Germany.

The Middlesex County FA’s Football Development Officer (Disability) Whittingham said: “It’s been a fantastic experience.

“While we’re delighted to win the tournament, what really pleased me was the whole squad came together and played with a genuine spirit of unity.”