O’Rourke ready for England beach soccer chance

Portsmouth Beach Soccer Club duo Cameron O'Rourke and Mark Corbett
Portsmouth Beach Soccer Club duo Cameron O'Rourke and Mark Corbett
Christian Burgess congratulates Oli Hawkins after the match. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Portsmouth teenager Cameron O’Rourke has followed in his father’s footsteps to claim a place in the England squad.

O’Rourke and fellow Portsmouth Beach Soccer Club player, Mark Corbett, will travel to Lagos, Nigeria this weekend to compete in the Copa Lagos 2015.

The 16-year-old was called up to the squad after impressing coach Terry Bowes.

And it was his performances in helping Portsmouth to second-place finishes in the Bournemouth Beach Soccer Championship and England Beach Soccer National Championship over the summer which caught the eye.

Dad Jamie – a veteran of England’s beach soccer set-up – believes his son must now grasp his opportunity at a high-profile event.

O’Rourke senior said: ‘It’s very young to be involved, but he’s always had the ability and now he’s got the chance to show it.

‘It was his first senior season and it definitely helped that we had two strong finishes.

‘He’s got all the tricks and flicks though and he showed that in the tournaments

‘I was involved with England for a long time, so he’s grown up playing on the sand and the England coach (Terry Bowes) knows his pedigree

‘It’s a big tournament for his first call-up.

‘There are a lot of smaller tournaments England are involved in, but the Copa Lagos is a big one.

‘There’s a lot of money out there and it gets a lot of attention.

‘They have fashion shows and everything going on aside from the football, so it will be a great experience for him.’

Corbett is a more experienced England international and has earned himself a recall after being overlooked for squads recently.

After making his debut in March 2013, the football development programme manager for Pompey in the Community has a fine goalscoring record with 28 goals in his 45 appearances.

He was also named England’s player of the year in 2014.

O’Rourke said: ‘Mark lacked a bit of form this season and I think that’s why he has missed out on a few squads recently

‘But he’s a goalscorer and his record is outstanding at international level.

‘So it’s good to see him back in the squad.

‘It’s also good for Cameron to have Mark out there.

‘He can give him advice and help him.

‘It’s quite a destination for your first trip.’

England will play Lebanon, Nigeria and Ivory Coast over the weekend, while the club competition includes a side from current Champions League holders and European giants Barcelona.

Ivory Coast are the defending champions after storming to the title in an undefeated campaign last year.

But hosts, Nigeria will also be expected to make a strong challenge.

You can follow the progress of the side at copalagos.com.

For more information on getting involved with the Portsmouth Beach Soccer Club, you can find them on Facebook and Twitter.