It is every footballer’s dream to score a goal for their country in the World Cup, and Daniel Fortune has managed to achieve just that.
The Leighton Buzzard lad has just returned from Poznan in Poland where he competed for England in the 11th Homeless World Cup.
Unlike 11-a-side football, the Homeless World Cup is 5-a-side futsal tournament, playing eight minutes a half with rolling substitutions.
Daniel’s call-up to the England squad came after he saw an advert in a hostel offering him the chance to play football for his beloved Arsenal as part of their homeless scheme.
“I’m a massive Arsenal fan and I love playing football, so I jumped at the chance,” he said.
“From there, the Arsenal coaching staff picked three of us to go and represent England.
“I was picked as first reserve, but a few days before the tournament I got the call, travelled to Derby where the full England team train, and the next day I was on a plane to Poland.”
Daniel, 20, described his time in Poland as an ‘unforgettable experience’ competing with 64 teams made up of homeless and socially disadvantaged young men and women from 50 countries.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be part of this tournament and represent England,” he said of his nine days in Poznan, Poland for the unique football tournament.
“I will never forget this time of my life - it’s a once in a lifetime experience,” he said.
“Poland is such a beautiful country and the people we met there were so nice and down to Earth. The other teams were great, and we had a really amazing time.”
But most importantly, out on the pitch, Daniel hit the back of the net five times, including the winner against Wales.
He said: “It was an amazing feeling, especially to score the winner. We were all representing the UK so we were friendly off the pitch, but on it, we wanted to win.”
The Homeless World Cup uses the power of football to energise homeless people so they can change their lives.
Daniel was introduced to the Homeless Football Association by Mayday Trust where he is a client.
“I’m more determined to turn my life around,” said Daniel who hopes to work with the Homeless Football Association as a coach.
“With what I have experienced, I don’t want to stop. I want to become a coach at Arsenal and hopefully become part of the England coaching staff to take a team out to Chile next season.”