A FOOTBALLER made his full international debut this week.

Gregg Baxter, 17, was named in England’s team for the European Powerchair Football Association Nations Cup in Finland.

Gregg, who players for Brighton and Hove Albion Powerchair FC, made his debut in goal for England in their opening match of the tournament – a 14-0 win over Austria.

The 17 year old then kept his place in goal, keeping another clean sheet in an even more impressive 17-0 win over Northern Ireland.

However he was rested on Friday morning as England beat Finland 8-0.

And he missed out on their afternoon match, in which England were handed their first defeat of the campaign - a 3-0 loss to France.

And Gregg said it was an honour to represent his country.

He said: “It’s every young footballer’s dream to one day represent their country, and that dream is the same for an able-bodied player or one with a disability.

“I grew up idolising players like Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and John Terry, and so to be able to say I’ve played for my country as well as these legends is a huge honour for me.”

Baxter was called up to the England squad after impressing for BHAPFC in the Muscular Dystrophy UK Premiership this season - a season in which BHAPFC finished eighth in the country’s top division.

And he will see a familiar Seagulls face on his team at the tournament.

Former BHAPFC captain Matt Francis, who now plays for West Bromwich Albion, is also in the national squad.

When asked about his first experience of representing England on the global stage, Gregg said: “Obviously I wanted to help England win.

“The training has been brilliant and there is a genuine belief flowing through the team that this is our year.

“On a more personal level, I’m not expecting to start and play every game, but I’d like to make my debut and put in a good shift when I’m called upon.

“Scoring a goal would be unbelievable.

“I just hope to do the club and the country proud.

“The support I’ve had at BHAPFC has been incredible since day one.

“We have a really close-knit team and I’ve made friends for life.

“Each teammate I’ve played with has taught me lessons I’ll remember not just for the rest of my career, but throughout my life.”

The BHAPFC team is run by Albion in the Community, the charitable arm of Brighton and Hove Albion.

It is one of four disability-specific football teams that AITC runs.

The Nations Cup, which is powerchair football’s version of the European Championships, runs until Sunday.

According to a poll on the EPFA Facebook page, England are the second favourites to win the tournament - behind the team that defeated them yesterday, France.

You can watch all the matches in the tournament on a live stream at the European Powerchair Football Association Facebook page.

For more information on powerchair football, email: disability@albioninthecommunity.org.uk