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Paul Fairclough: Non-League Lions deserve to keep roaring

ENGLAND C boss Paul Fairclough has hailed the news England C have been saved – and he’s vowed to continue building on the Three Lions’ Non-League legacy.

The team’s existence had been under threat as the FA looked to save money to help fund Greg Dyke’s £30m grass-roots plan.

Last month Fairclough’s side beat a full Republic of Ireland U21 side amid suggestions it could be their final game.

But the team’s future for the next two years was secured at an FA board meeting at St George’s Park on Friday. The budget will be cut and there is a view to finding alternative funding streams.

Since Fairclough took over in 2003, more than 200 capped players have gone on to play in the Premier League, Football League or Scottish Premiership.

And he’s convinced it is only a matter of time before someone goes on to play for the full England national side.

Chuffed

Fairclough told The NLP: “I am chuffed to bits England C will continue. We’ve done a lot of work on the team and it would be a huge shame if it wasn’t to continue.

“Mike Appleby and Andy Shaw at the FA have got to take a lot of credit. I’ve spoken to Roy Hodgson, we’ve appealed to so many people and I’m proud one of the FA’s most successful teams will continue.

“The England Non-League team has existed for as long as I can remember. To have lost that legacy would have been terrible.

“Young players now can still realistically aspire to play for England. And mark my words, one of them will play for the full England team in the future.

“I am invigorated by this news and I am already on it for our next game.”

In recent weeks former stars Steve Morison (Leeds), George Boyd (Burnley), David Stockdale (Brighton), Barnsley manager Lee Johnson and Bristol City’s Aden Flint have backed England C to carry on.

Fairclough added: “It’s great they see that England C has helped their progress – now it will help others.”

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