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The C-Team

Ahead of non-league day on Saturday, we take a look at the international equivalent and the purpose of the Three Lions’ C team.

Whilst the Three Lions prepare to take on World Cup finalists Croatia in the Nations League, there’s another England team taking the stage – albeit a wildly different one.

The England ‘C’ team play Estonia’s Under-23s on Wednesday evening at Leyton Orient’s Breyer Group Stadium – but what actually is the England C team?

To put it simply, to play for the C team you must be under 23 years old, and not contracted to a football league team.


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Fairclough has been in charge for 15 years

Down the years it has been dubbed the ‘England Semi-Pros,’ after being founded in 1979.

The team has been under the steady guidance of non-league stalwart Paul Fairclough for 15 years.

The gaffer

Graham Hughes – The Times

The gaffer

Squad goalsThe team only tend to play around four games a year, competing in friendlies and the ‘International Challenge Trophy’.

The 16 man squad has been announced and a certain centre-back called Maguire has been selected.

Laurence Maguire, Harry’s younger brother.

Laurence (far right) has earned his first call up

PA:Press Association

Laurence (far right) has earned his first call up

You might think this team is a chance for those who will never get to wear the real England kit.

And you may be right, although that’s not to say there haven’t been some relatively big names playing for the C Team down the years.

Burnley’s Andre Gray scored in a 2-1 win over Belgium U23 squad during his time with Luton Town, while former Brighton midfielder Craig Mackail-Smith and Sheffield Wednesday star George Boyd have also had run outs for Fairclough’s team.

Gray was once an England C great


Gray was once an England C great

These players may never play on the hallowed turf of Wembley on the international stage, but it’s still a chance to represent your country.

The famous footballing rags to riches story of Jamie Vardy started in non-league football, although the ex-England man never made the cut for the C team.

Vardy was never called up for the C team

Getty Images – Getty

Vardy was never called up for the C team

This game comes on the back of a 3-2 defeat earlier in the year to Ireland Amateurs, with England looking to get back to winning ways.

So while we are still waiting for the first man to go from the C team to the England first team, who knows, maybe they will be making their way out in East London on Wednesday evening?

WATCH: Love Of The Game: Leyton Orient (Episode 1)

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