“I NEVER thought I would play for a football team, never mind my country.”

Ahead of this year’s Amputee World Cup in Turkey, Bolton’s Rhyce Ramsden is no stranger to playing in major international tournaments.

Ramsden has already represented his country at two European Championships and a World Cup since breaking into the side at just 16 years of age.

His journey into amputee football came about after meeting England manager Owen Coyle Jr, the son of former Wanderers player and manager Owen Coyle.

“I met Owen through a teacher at school (Bolton St Catherine’s). I used to play for my school team but I played in net with my prosthetic on,” Ramsden explained.

“My teacher, Mr Mooney, knew about me playing football and put me in touch with Owen. One day he came to the school and answered any questions I had.

“The following weekend there was a junior camp. I was only 16 at the time and he invited me to come down.

“I went to the camp and played on my prosthetic – I had never played on crutches in my life. But I took to it pretty quickly.”

Ramsden hasn’t looked back since trying out amputee football and is now an important member of the England squad.

“Rhyce is an outstanding young man,” added Coyle. “He has worked very hard to get where he is now.

“He is considered one of the key players for our squad now in a very young and exciting new team ahead of the World Cup.

“He has been an absolute delight to work with and I’m sure he has got many successful years left in the game.”

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Some of the players Ramsden could come up against at the World Cup are paid to play or even have full-time jobs in amputee football.

But that isn’t the case for the England squad, who have to raise funds to cover the costs of competing such as travel and accommodation.

“It is difficult,” admitted Ramsden. “The first year is always the easiest but after that you are asking the same people for donations, it gets a bit harder.

“We have a target of £1,000. Currently I am running a JustGiving page and my mum and sister are doing raffles on Facebook, so they are helping me.”

In addition to his experience on the international stage, Ramsden also plays at a high level domestically.

The 21-year-old currently plays for Manchester City’s Amputee side, who will be competing in the Champions League in Poland later this week.

“We have been drawn against the champions of Turkey, France and Italy,” he added.

“Turkey are the best technically - they are the best nation in amputee football so they will be a difficult side. But I am looking forward to it, it should be fun.”

Away from his playing duties, Ramsden is an avid Wanderers fan and attends matches home and away when he can.

The Tonge Moor resident is delighted with the progress the club has made over the past couple of years and is optimistic they can push on next season.

“My dad is a Bolton fan and I used to go to the games when I was younger with my dad’s mate – he had a spare season ticket,” he recalled.

“My brother was a Bolton supporter as well. I have just been surrounded by Bolton fans really.

“I go to games as often as I can now, home and away, and I’m planning to get a season ticket next year for the first time.

“I was at the (Coventry) game when we had the kids out. From where we were then to where we are now, bouncing straight back from League Two - we have got ourselves back to where we should be.”

To donate to Rhyce's JustGiving page, click HERE.