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Student looks at home already playing in national team for the partially sighted
A TEENAGER says he is ready to step onto the global stage after being asked to represent his country at a World Cup next month.
Tom Lamb has made the cut for England’s partially sighted squad that flies to Japan at the end of January to tackle the best of the rest on the planet.
The Sir John Deane’s College student, who became the youngest player to star at senior level at last summer’s European Championships, says previous experience will help him this time around.
“My legs turned to jelly,” he said of a cameo appearance as a substitute in Turkey.
“The adrenaline was rushing around my body, and what was a couple of minutes flashed by in what felt like seconds.”
The 17-year-old helped his side to fourth place overall, although their target in Asia is to return home with a medal.
Lamb, from Cuddington, has become an established member of the team since moving up from the national development group, rubbing shoulders with players up to twice his age.
“It’s been character-forming,” he quipped.
“The adjustment is not easy when you go from playing with guys of the same age to a squad where you’re the youngest by at least five years.
“I’ve loved the experience though, which will help when I go to Japan.”
A regular in the Cheshire Schools’ FA’s under 18s boys’ set-up, Lamb was born without an optic nerve in his left eye.
He also has a condition, called nystagmus, which reduces vision in his right one.
“It means I can’t focus on things so well when I’m moving around, it’s a bit of a daze,” added Lamb, who only played disability football for the first time three years ago.
International tournaments for the partially sighted is played indoors, usually following Futsal rules with teams made up of five players using a smaller ball.
It is a format to which the former Weaverham High School pupil has adjusted.
“Futsal is popular in Europe but not so much here,” he said.
“It’s fast-paced, and you get to touch the ball a lot which improves technique. I wouldn’t say I prefer it to 11-a-side but I have improved elements of my game playing it.”