South Yorkshire schoolgirl's Wembley walk-out goal-den opportunity

Alys among England players
Alys among England players

Saturday's England victory proved a big day out for a Lidl-sponsored football fan.

Doncaster's Alys Spencer was "excited" at the once in a lifetime chance to be part of our World Cup qualifier as reward for championing the game among youngsters.

Football fanatic Alys Spencer

Football fanatic Alys Spencer

Our conformable 2-0 win over Malta under interim manager Gareth Southgate after Daniel Sturridge and Dele Alli netted ensured goal-den memories for the seven year old.

She said: "I was very excited to walk out with the England team and felt very lucky to have been chosen. One day I hope to be the one walking out in an England shirt, as a Lioness at Wembley".

Dad Adam added: “I'm thrilled that Alys' dedication, hard work and passion was recognised. It was a great opportunity to highlight the progress of girls' football, and importance of FA Skills programme, because it's one of the things that's kept her passion for football going for so long."

Lidl's FA partnership involves skill programmes nationwide for five to 11-year-olds, getting them involved in the game to increase activity.

Alys' special selection was in recognition of "her commitment to encouraging other girls in the area to get involved in the sport and the passion she has for football".

She was nominated for the unforgettable experience by Andy Beaglehole, her coach at local Lidl sponsored FA Skills Centre, where she has been a dedicated player for three years.

In 2016, coinciding with The FA’s initiative to offer girls-only skills sessions, Alys convinced her dad to start girls only football team for her primary school. Encouraging friends to join skills sessions, she was instrumental in forming three local female teams catering for U7’s, U9’s and U11’s as a testament to her passion for her sport.

Company senior consultant Joanna Gomer said: “At Lidl we’re extremely proud to support grassroots football. Being able to meet and reward children like Alys and her family is a honour.

"Not only has Alys helped instigate the growth of female participation in Doncaster but she has demonstrated The FA Skills ethos of fun, keeping active and learning new skills while playing with friends.”

Added Alys: "I would like to especially thank The FA Skills coach Andy Beaglehole as well as Dave Bailey, and Desi Rankin for all their help.”