The Hellenic League players who’ve represented England

Sam Barratt. Photo: David Loveday.
Sam Barratt. Photo: David Loveday.

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In 2018 the Hellenic League was well represented as an FA XI team made up of players from step 4 and 5 of the English Football Pyramid took part in a tour to the South Atlantic Ocean.

Former Binfield, Thatcham Town and current Bracknell Town striker Liam Ferdinand was on that trip along with then Reading City forward Mitchell Parker.

It got us thinking then, who else from the Hellenic League has represented England, or won international honours (there’s a few of those further down the list) in their careers?

This list is undoubtedly incomplete, if you know someone we’ve missed please get in touch!

The obvious place to start is of course..

Sam Barratt

Sam Barratt with England C. Photo: David Loveday.
Sam Barratt with England C. Photo: David Loveday.

Former Bracknell Town and Woodley United winger Barratt is top of our list having played for the England C side on two occasions while with Maidenhead United.

Managed by ex-Barnet and Stevenage boss Paul Fairclough, Barratt started the International Challenge Trophy Final for England in November 2017 and earned his second cap in the final minutes of a friendly match against Wales in March 2018.

Barratt is currently with EFL League One side Southend United for the 2018/19 season.

Liam Ferdinand and Mitchell Parker

The FA Representative XI. Photo: Jody Aldridge.
The FA Representative XI. Photo: Jody Aldridge.

As we mentioned above, the duo have extensive Hellenic League experience with Ferdinand coming to prominence at Binfield.

Both players scored for the FA side while on tour – they played two fixtures – and Parker captained the team in the match against the Falkland Islands XI.

Kevin Brock

Genuinely big time this one! Former Ardley United manager Kevin was part of the England side that beat Spain 3-0 in the 1984 European Under 21 Championship.

According to a Guardian report, England faced a side loaded with players who would go on to be Spanish legends including Andoni Zubizarreta and Emilio Butragueño.

The England team though had it’s own stars with Brock lining up alongside the likes of Mark Hateley and Steve Hodge.

Suggested by Roger Wise

Stuart Bridges

One member of the Hellenic League fans forum – Roger Wise – suggested former Bicester Town and Ardley United player Stuart Bridges. We need a bit more information on this one but Bridges and his brother Scott were both on the books of Aston Villa as youngsters according to the Oxford Mail.

Jack Rutter

Jack Rutter. Photo supplied by Lydney Town.
Jack Rutter. Photo supplied by Lydney Town.

Lydney Town’s Jack Rutter has quite a story. According to the clubs twitter team: ‘He was a pro at Birmingham City before getting attacked on a night out causing brain damage. He got quite famous in the run up to the Paralympic Games with TV appearances. He does a lot of charity work now.

Jack has captained the England Cerebal Palsy team and captained Team GB at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

There’s more on Jack’s story on the Guardian here, his Rio Olympic profile is here and the change of classification rules that ended his England career here.

Shayne Bradley

Tuffley Rovers striker Bradley is (to quote his own twitter profile) scraping a game for the Hellenic Premier Division side but in his youth, the 39-year-old played professionally for Southampton, Swindon Town and Exeter City amongst others.

He makes this list though for the same reason as the names coming up after this entry. England Schoolboys.

Bradley, so Rovers tell us played in the same team as future England internationals Michael Owen and Wes Brown among others.

Matt Jones

Former Ascot United forward Matt Jones played for the English Schools side in 2007 – number 16 in the link.

Matt Jones in Ascot United colours. Photo:
Matt Jones in Ascot United colours. Photo:

Speaking to Football in Bracknell, Matt said: “I scored against Republic of Ireland in Dublin and was part of the side that beat Belgium 5-2 in a friendly. That team that included Eden Hazard and Christian Benteke. Needless to say our career paths were not the same!

“I have represented most of the Berkshire sides in the Hellenic at one time or another! All except Bracknell in fact. Currently in early retirement as I can’t seem to get past my various injuries!” 

Jordan Ayris

In 2011, Ardley United striker Jordan Ayris was scoring for the English School’s under 18 side in a 1-0 win over Wales.

According to the Oxford Mail: ‘Ayris netted with a delightful chip over Luke Martin from the edge of the area after the Welsh goalkeeper struggled to get any distance on a goal kick.’

After the game he said: “It was great and it was in front of the biggest crowd that I have played.”

James Richardson

James Richardson of Ascot United. Photo: Robert Mack/Shooting Stars.
James Richardson of Ascot United. Photo: Robert Mack/Shooting Stars.

Fast forward to 2019 and Ascot United youngster Richardson will join this list having been selected for the 2019 English Schools side.

Richardson scored the winner for the under 18 side as they beat an RAF team 2-1 in a final trial fixture in January.

Honourable mentions: Bristol City striker Matty Taylor comes close to making the list with three England C caps – however his spells with Abingdon United, Didcot Town, Brackley Town and North Leigh don’t appear to coincide with any of the sides time in the Hellenic.

Southampton striker Charlie Austin is as close as we can get at the moment to a full England international. The former Hungerford Town striker was called up in May 2015 with Jamie Vardy to face the Republic of Ireland but was an unused substitute. There’s still time though.

And representatives of other countries?

Jayce Olivero

The Abingdon United defender has 18 caps for Gibralter and worked his way through the youth ranks making his senior international debut in 2016 in a match against Liechtenstein.

He has also come up against the likes of Belgium, Greece and Bosnia Herzegovina in World Cup Qualifying and the UEFA Nations League.

Gavin James

Bracknell Town's Gavin James. Photo: Neil Graham.
Bracknell Town’s Gavin James. Photo: Neil Graham.

Now with Bracknell Town after spells with Slough Town and Thatcham Town where he won the FA Vase, James was a Hellenic League golden boot winner at Flackwell Heath when he made his debut for St Vincent and the Grenadines in a World Cup Qualifier against Guyana in 2015.

The brilliant full story of James’ debut is here on the Bucks Free Press website but at the time he said: “They play the FIFA anthem as you walk out and it was one of those things that gives you goose bumps as you’re walking out as there is this iconic music playing.”

This list is undoubtedly incomplete, if you know someone we’ve missed please get in touch!


Main image: Sam Barratt by David Loveday.

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