PNE striker Davies makes switch

Kevin Davies believes futsal is the way forward for youngsters
Kevin Davies believes futsal is the way forward for youngsters
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Out-of-contract Preston striker Kevin Davies is taking a futsal team to an exhibition match in Manchester later this month.

Former England centre-forward Davies – who has still to determine whether his future lies at Deepdale – is leading a select side to take on Manchester Futsal at the Velodrome on Sunday July 19, in a showcase game.

He has selected a stylish team that will include former PNE man Lee Trundle, two-times European champion and four-time winner of Red Bull Street Style for Fifa Street Soufiane Bencok, alongside street soccer players Issy ‘Hitman’ Hamdaoui and Edward Van Gils.

The aim of the event is to raise awareness of the sport, not well known in the UK but, credited with developing many South American stars like Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey-sized goals and a size-four ball with a reduced bounce

Davies said: “Bolton and Bury District Football League chairman Warren Barlow has been passionate about futsal for some time. Like many people in the UK I didn’t know much about it so spent some time researching.

“The more I looked into it the more convinced I became it was right for the league. It is the way forward in producing more top quality, technical gifted players.

“Why do we continue to make our youngsters, coaches, refs and parents suffer through winter? It is not the right environment for anyone to develop in.”

Davies met up with Simon Wright, the chairman of Manchester Futsal, and watched his side play at the Velodrome.

He said: “We managed to secure the Essa Academy, a fantastic facility in Bolton.

“We then launched an Under-13s futsal competition sponsored by local bread maker Warburtons – 24 teams signed up and started competing in May. So far the competition has been a resounding success and the improvement technically is clear for all to see.”

The competition has created so much momentum in the area that Manchester Futsal invited Davies to put together a select team to take them on in an exhibition match the same day as the Under-13ss final.

“The games will help to raise awareness and open people’s eyes to the brilliant format of the game,” said Davies.

“This really needs to be pushed in this country and in my professional opinion should be used as part of our youngsters’ football development.

“There are facilities out there that stand idle all weekend. We are looking to find as many facilities as possible so that we can get more members of the BBDFL playing this format of the game.”

Tickets for the event are just £5 for adults and £1.50 for children and are available from www.manchesterfutsal.com.