"The Game Was Amazing" Man of the Match Speaks

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Thursday February 14, 2013 at 5:37pm

Man of the match on his England debut. We speak to JP Collier about his match winning display against Bulgaria.

Who is JP, what is your background in small sided football (5/6 a side etc). Who do you play for and how long have you been playing?

I’m 25 years old and live in South London. I was introduces to 5 a-side football in 2007 at the Xbox national tournament where our team ALLSTARS finished 3rd. After that there was no looking back. The following five years would see me and the team ALLSTARS play and win numerous tournaments, resulting in us receiving various prizes including trips abroad to Barcelona, Rome and LA. Capping our 10 national titles with a world title victory at Old Trafford in 2010 was our pinnacle.

What were your initial thoughts on being selected to play for your country?

To be honest being selected by your country at any level is a privilege. As small sided football has been such a big part of my football career over the past 5/6 years, it was a real honour not only to be asked to play for England but also the fact that you are recognised as one of the elite players in our game was nice.

 
Looking back what do you think of the squad and did you know many of the players previously?

The squad was quality, every player as you would expect when being selected by England brought their own distinct abilities and attributes to the team. I knew virtually every player through the 5 a-side circuit, some more so than others. I had never played with any of the players before only against them. It was a good experience for such good players to come together and play in the same team.

How did you find the experience and expectations of playing for England and how did you feel the players from different clubs gelled within the squad?

The experience of lining up in an England team for the game was amazing, having the opportunity to play with the best players in one team for your country was excellent. The expectation levels were high and rightly so. Personally I thrive of that and was excited to get on with winning the match. I think it’s fair to say with so many different players from various clubs coming together and playing for the first time it was going to be strange and it turned out to be that way for the first couple of minutes as Bulgaria kept possession well but as we began to learn each other’s movement and shape we controlled the game until the final whistle.

Obviously being MoM the game went well personally, how do you think the game went for the team and what did you think of the style of England's play?

Yes on a personal level I was delighted to be named MOM on my debut England performance. The game went well for us, it didn’t take us too long to settle into a rhythm and once we got the opening goal we could relax. 2:0 at half time and the message was to get the third goal and the game would become comfortable. We did that and I think the lads quality really showed for the rest of the game. The only small negative for us as a team was not to have kept a clean sheet, that would have been good for our keeper but also for a solid defensive performance. None the less 6:1 is still pretty impressive. Our play was controlled and exciting at times, I think with more time we can really develop our play and I think with the individuals we have you will see much flair but also control over games which will hopefully lead to a great blend.
 
What do you think was the biggest challenge compared to a club\tournament games?

I think without doubt I would say it is the fitness levels of the players. In 5 a-side tournament games are played on much smaller pitches and the games are short and sharp for just a 10 minute period. Here the pitch was much larger with 40 minutes on the clock. This is just something us players will learn and adapt to in due course.

 
What did you think of the Bulgarian opposition?

I think the game could have been very different if Bulgaria had turned their early possession into goals. This would have led them into higher confidence going forward in the game and possibly cause us problems. As it was they didn’t and our quality took over and we were able to dictate play.

 
How would you sum up the England experience?

It was a proud and exciting game for myself and the team. Strong victory for us, a lot learned and we will push on from here.

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