FORGET the European Championships, England’s best chance of silverware this summer comes from an unlikely source.
Ten-year-old Heckmondwike lad Coen Townsend is hotly tipped to take top honours in this summer’s Subbuteo World Cup.
Coen is ranked 11th in the world in his under-12s category – England’s highest placed player in all ages.
And he has also just been named England captain.
But bizarrely he isn’t that keen on football itself. His proud dad Philip, a Liverpool fan, said Coen didn’t follow a particular team, and took all the pressure in his stride: “He isn’t an attention seeking child, he just enjoys it when it comes along.
“The weekend just gone, Coen was playing in a Grand Prix tournament in Scotland and he got to the last 32 for a mix-age competition. That’s unheard of for an under-12.
“He was up against an experienced Greek player and there were 40 or 50 people standing around the table. It went to extra time and he just seemed to thrive on it.”
He has even been watched by Belgian national team selectors, who are anxious that his considerable talents could put a dent in their own World Cup success, when it takes place at the Etihad Stadium, in Manchester this July.
Philip said: “There is a bit of friendly rivalry between Coen and the Belgians, but its all good fun.
“The World Cup will be incredible and a massive event.”
Between now and then, Coen has more tournaments to enter and a nervous wait ahead of the revised world rankings, published next month.
Philip added: “We are hoping that he breaks into the top five because he is more likely to be seeded for the World Cup.”