LEE FARRELL returns to the Great Britain squad for the Deaf European Football Championships later this month and the striker is looking to complete some unfinished business.
The popular striker thought his career had ended back in 2009 when he broke his leg and ankle playing for the GB side in the Deaflympics in Taipei, so he is over the moon to get a place back in the side for the Championships, which start on June 26.
Farrell, 28, lasted just 65 minutes in the opening game of the Deaflympics in September, 2009. He was looking to add another gold medal to the one he won with GB in the 2005 Games in Australia, when he finished the tournament as top goal scorer.
But the horror injury required two operations on his ankle and leg, with six pins, five of which he will keep for life, and he was out of action for a year and a half, but now things are looking up for the former East Preston and Lewes forward.
Farrell, from Angmering, was training with Horsham and played a couple of games towards the end of last season as he fought to return to full fitness. He is now looking at his recall as a chance to finish off the job that he missed on at the Deaflypmics.
Farrell, who featured in two friendly wins for GB against Belgium two weeks ago, said: “I am very happy and surprised. After breaking my leg, I thought it was the end of my football career and I’d have to retire.
“The squad’s only aim is to win the gold and no less. As with any other normal sportsman, it means a lot to myself and the players to represent GB in any competitions worldwide.
“We all gain a significant amount of experience from competing in tournaments such as the European Deaf Championships and the Deaflympics.
“It was very difficult to get back playing as my fitness and my styles of football are not the same as it was before.”
In the last European Championships in Portugal in 2007, GB finished runners-up to France. In the final, Farrell started the match but picked up a groin injury, and that has made him even more determined for the upcoming championships.
The GB squad will consist of high-level players including some from Arsenal, Fulham and Everton.
As for his future, Farrell has made no plans on where he will be playing next season, and he wants to take each season as it comes, with regards to the next Deaflympics in 2013.
He said: “My main aim is to try to get back to normal and as excellent as I was before my broken leg and to get to a high standard again.
“I’ve been asked by a few clubs to play for them and I am going to have meetings about it soon, so I don’t know where I will be yet.
“There will be more Deaflympics coming up in two years’ time, but I’m not sure if I will still be playing by that time as I would be past my prime.”
The GB team does not receive financial support from the English FA because it represents Great Britain as a whole, so they rely on charity events to get the cash needed for running costs and tournaments.
The squad is training hard for the tournament, despite the financial uncertainty, as they search to raise £75,000.
Anyone who would like to support the team and make a donation can go to www.justgiving.com/gbdenmark