Tommy Charlton set to emulate Bobby and Jack and make his England debut - aged 71

Bobby and Jack Charlton’s brother Tommy could turn out England 52 years after his brothers won the World Cup
Bobby and Jack Charlton’s brother Tommy could turn out England 52 years after his brothers won the World Cup

More than 50 years since Bobby and Jack Charlton won the World Cup with England, their little brother is looking to make his international debut.

Tommy Charlton was forced to quit football in 1970 after breaking a kneecap but has never given up hope of emulating his older siblings.

Now the 71-year-old grandfather of six has his chance as he prepares for a trial with the England Over-60s Walking Football Team at Burnley this weekend.

Tommy plays for The Mature Millers in Rotherham and cannot wait for his chance to impress the selectors ahead of the sport’s first ever international game in May or June, just 18 months after the Walking Football Association was established.

He said: ‘I love playing the game and often get asked if I’m mad by Bobby, Jack and my family. But I’ve built great relationships thanks to walking football and hope to break into the England team.

‘I’m very excited about the trials and showing management some of my skills. Hopefully I’ll perform well but it’s going to be very difficult to make it into the squad as there are so many experienced walking footballers plying their trade at the moment.

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‘I love scoring goals. I’m not the best player in the world but I do it for fun.’

Tommy watched his brothers guide England to World Cup glory in 1966 on TV at his girlfriend’s house in Northumberland because he could not afford to go to London.

He added: ‘I was an apprentice at the pit. I’d never been to London and didn’t have any money. I was terrifically proud when the whistle went. It was a wonderful moment.

‘When I was young I felt I always had to compete with Bobby and Jack and just couldn’t live up to it. I realised I was never fast or good enough to compete. Now I’m the only one of three of us still playing so I guess you could say I’ve won!’

Former Liverpool defender and two-time European Cup winner Alan Kennedy is another trialist who will be hoping to impress the selectors at Turf Moor.

Kennedy, who twice played for England, scored the winning goal in both of those finals, against Real Madrid in 1981 and the decisive penalty in the 1984 shoot-out against Roma.


The Walking Football Association’s founder is Paul Car. He sits on the board of directors along with John Croot, who invented walking football and Burnley owner Brendan Flood.

Carr said: ‘It’s great that Tommy and former Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy are trialling but they will be alongside and against a number of experienced walking footballers who are all keen to put the England shirt on.

‘Walking Football is a rapidly growing sport and is now played in 35 countries with a World Cup and European championship both to be held in 2019 and 2020.’

Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy with WFA founder Paul Carr
Liverpool legend Alan Kennedy with WFA founder Paul Carr