York City right-back Ben Purkiss fighting for chance to make England ‘C’ debut against Malta

York City full-back Ben Purkiss

Adam Boyes

First published in Sport York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

YORK City manager Martin Foyle will not stand in the way of right-back Ben Purkiss making his England ‘C’ debut.

Purkiss has been called into the non-League national side’s 16-man squad for an away game against Malta Under-21s in a fortnight’s time.

The former Gainsborough Trinity full-back is currently sidelined with a stomach strain and is unlikely to play any part in Saturday’s Blue Square Premier trip to Mansfield.

But Purkiss will still be given permission to join the Three Lions’ party for the February 17 friendly, providing he is fit enough to figure in next Wednesday’s rearranged FA Trophy third round replay against Kidderminster at KitKat Crescent.

Considering Purkiss’ recent stomach troubles and the fact that City could be preparing for an FA Trophy quarter-final during that week or bidding for vital league points against Oxford, Foyle’s attitude contrasts strongly to managers at the top level of the game where players are encouraged to withdraw from internationals at a whim.

Explaining his mindset, the City boss said: “I’m a very passionate Englishman and to represent your country in anything at any level is an achievement.

“I’ve spoken to Ben and it’s important for the lad to get his stomach injury right at the moment.

“The England set-up need to know what his situation is so we’ll be touching base with them and, while he won’t be playing for us on Saturday, if he plays on Wednesday then he’s got a great chance of going to Malta.”

England ‘C’ boss Paul Fairclough has named an experimental squad of uncapped players for the game, meaning Richard Brodie has been left out while former Minstermen Nicky Wroe and Lewis McMahon, now playing for Torquay and Gainsborough respectively, have both been included.

City’s teenage striker Adam Boyes has also been placed on standby for the trip, marking a meteoric rise for the Lingdale youngster, who only made his full debut last week and scored his first senior goal on Saturday.

Foyle is confident, however, that the 18-year-old youth-team graduate, who spent a fortnight on trial with Manchester United at the end of last season, will remain grounded.

He said: “He’s a level-headed boy and, as long as he takes in the football information he is being given, he has got a great chance of progressing in the game. None of this is coming too early for him and he’s raring to go.

“The team has been struggling for most of the season so we wanted to throw him in at the right time but he has responded well and listened to everything we are putting across in training.”

Wrexham, meanwhile, have agreed to a one-month extension of defender Kyle Critchell’s loan stay at KitKat Crescent.

Critchell’s current spell was due to expire after Saturday’s Mansfield match but the Welsh club will also be entitled to recall him at any stage over the next four weeks and Foyle admitted he might still need defensive reinforcements when the window for loan signings reopens next week.

Foyle added: “I’ve made some inquiries because I’m worried about the back line. David McGurk and Ben Purkiss could both have setbacks, Darren Kelly has a bad back and Wrexham could call Critch back.

“The one plus is Mark Greaves is back running. We thought he might have been another month but he could be back during the next couple of weeks.”

Comments (1)

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11:12am Wed 4 Feb 09

north_boys says...

These international games are a complete waste of time. They have little importance to anyone apart from the actual players who get called up. All they do is cause more worries for the clubs who may face one of their squad members getting injured.

I wonder if the bigger clubs would be happy if the FA started organising friendlies against the likes of Luxembourg and San Marino halfway through the league season?
These international games are a complete waste of time. They have little importance to anyone apart from the actual players who get called up. All they do is cause more worries for the clubs who may face one of their squad members getting injured. I wonder if the bigger clubs would be happy if the FA started organising friendlies against the likes of Luxembourg and San Marino halfway through the league season? north_boys
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