Ash has World Cup on his mind

Ashley Allanson is hoping the tricks he got up to as a kid have put him on track to World Cup glory.

Allanson has been called up by the Football Association to play for the England Futsal team in a friendly in Georgia on Tuesday and he will be jetting out to Tblisi today.

The Farsley Celtic midfielder – a late addition to the squad after another player withdrew – is now hoping he will impress enough to retain his place when England play three FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers next February.

The game is an indoor version of five-a-side football, played with hockey-sized goals and a smaller ball – something Allanson was handed in his junior days at Hull City to improve his skills.

Allanson said: "I was called up to a training day last month at Lilleshall and it was the first time I even knew there was an England squad.

"I went down and then I got a phonecall on Tuesday to say someone had dropped out of the squad and do you want to go to Georgia.

"It's a bit short notice, but I'm delighted to get asked.

"It's going to be a bit of a learning curve for me, but I will get an insight into it and hopefully I will do alright and make a good impression.

"In February it's the first game of the World Cup qualifiers and it would be great if I could keep my place for that.

"The game is massive in Europe, where there are full-time leagues and full-time teams, England are a bit far behind. But it is good to get called up for your country at any sport and it would be unbelievable to go to a World Cup.

"I will just take one game at a time and see what it's like in Georgia, and hopefully I will do alright out there."

Allanson, who has just turned 21, is the second Farsley player this month to receive international recognition.

Amjad Iqbal has just returned from international duty with Pakistan, who he has represented in World Cup 2010 qualifiers against Iran – albeit the more traditional version of the game.

And Allanson said: "The lads have obviously congratulated me and stuff but I have to explain what it is because a lot of people don't know, it's such a minority sport in this country.

"I just tell them to think of the Nike advert where it shows Ronaldhino as a kid and he is doing all kinds of tricks – he is playing Futsal then.

"I started playing towards the end of last season for a team in Hull, playing the likes of Birmingham, Preston and Leeds. A mate of mine invited me down and I loved it.

"The game is fast-paced, it's played on a big pitch with small goals and the balls are smaller and heavily weighted so they don't bounce much.

"It's all about close control, quick passing and trying to get shots away from close-range.

"It really does test you – you have to be good tactically and technically.

"I'm lucky really because I have been playing with a Futsal ball since I was 13 or 14. We were given smaller balls to develop our skills and I find it easy to actually play five-a-side because I have been brought up using that sort of footbball.

"The coaches I had down at Hull City got them in. They obviously heard it was a good way to develop and everyone got one each when we were younger to go home and practice with to help nurture our skills.

"I train down at Hull now and every age group gets them."

ASHLEY ALLANSON is backing former Scunthorpe United striker Steve Torpey to prove a hit at Throstle Nest.

Allanson was at Glanford Park with the 36-year-old striker and he believes the player, who was signed on loan this week, can provide the boost the Celts need to ensure their first season in the Blue Square Premier is a successful one.

Farsley were hovering just above the relegation zone ahead of yesterday's clash at Crawley, having failed to win in their previous five games, but midfielder Allanson believes Torpey can help Celtic transfer draws and narrow defeats into wins.

He said: "I was obviously with Steve at Scunthorpe and he is a big lad who puts himself about a bit.

"He scores goals but he also holds the ball up well, which is what we need at the moment, and brings other players into play.

"His arrival is going to benefit the other strikers as well as the team."

Torpey was expected to go straight into the side at Crawley yesterday to replace Damien Reeves, who was sent off in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Altrincham.

The point against the team who were one place below Celtic in the table, in the fourth and final relegation spot, followed a 4-1 home defeat to York and a 1-0 reverse at Grays last weekend.

Allanson said: "I think we are doing alright.

"We got a decent result in the circumstances on Tuesday night and we have been unlucky this season.

"We have played okay, we are just lacking a cutting edge.

"The Grays game was typical. We did well throughout the first half and then right at the end they had a snap-shot that goes in.

"We did well in the second half, we were on top but we didn't create any chances and that has been the story of our season.

"But we are sticking in there, we're still outside the relegation zone which is good and we will keep trying to pick up points."