Spike aiming high ahead of World Cup bid

Spike Westbrook playing for Manchester Amputee Football Club in Russia
Spike Westbrook playing for Manchester Amputee Football Club in Russia
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Spike Westbrook’s sights are set on World Cup glory.

But the amputee football star has some uphill challenges to overcome before making that dream a reality.

Westbrook is aiming to build on firing England to big tournament success in the Victory Cup last year.

The 30-year-old bagged a semi-final winner against Turkey in Moscow, before England went down to a final defeat to Russia.

Now the ambition is to help Great Britain reach the final stages against the world’s best in Kaliningrad in October.

Westbrook is in line to do that as his team’s vice-captain and one of their most experienced squad members.

First, though, he will take on the challenge of climbing Snowdonia next month, along with his team-mates, to raise crucial funds.

The Cosham ace, who had his left leg amputated as a teenager when diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, will take on that daunting challenge on crutches.

Westbrook is unfazed by that, though, and the prospect of representing GB later this year.

He has previous World Cup experience in Argentina two years ago, when his team finished seventh.

Westbrook believes the aim has to be to make the semi-final stage this time around – at the very least.

And his pride is flowing at the prospect at again stepping out on the international stage.

He said: ‘It’s going to be emotional when the World Cup comes around.

‘I’m vice-captain going into it and I’m becoming established.

‘The last tournament we played in was the Victory Cup in Moscow.

‘We had three group games, then a semi and final in a seven-day period.

‘I played okay and scored two goals – one was against Turkey and one against Iran.

‘The goal against Turkey was the winner in the semi-final. That was a special moment.

‘I’m becoming established. I was captain for the last game of the last tournament.

‘It will be emotional when it comes around. It gets me every time when I hear the anthem – the hairs stand on the back of my neck. It’s a proud moment.

‘We’re aiming for the semis or final because we are one of the top-four sides in the world.

‘We are becoming a younger side who are building for the future. It’s going well and looking good.’

A number of initiatives are in place to help Westbrook and his team to raise money.

Local outfit East Lodge, who count Westbrook’s former youth-team manager Dave Hill among their members, have also given him their support.

The Snowdonia challenge is one which excites the footballer, despite the toughness of the task.

Westbrook said: ‘We are climbing Snowdonia because we need to raise money.

‘Obviously, it’s going to be a bit tougher being on our crutches!

‘It’s an idea the team have come up with to raise funds. And it obviously is going to be an achievement as well.’