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2 April 2008 PR 08/43

England footballers train at Loughborough University

Four Loughborough students were among an elite group of English Universities footballers making their final preparations for the British University Games in Loughborough today (2 April).

Liam Green, Liam Hopkins, Bradley Pritchard and Andy Brown are in an 18-strong English Universities team which also features Loughborough Director of Football James Ellis as its Head Coach and Loughborough Head Coach Tom Curtis as Assistant.

England’s players were put through their paces under the eye of Loughborough graduate and Coventry City player Robbie Simpson. The 23-year-old striker made his professional debut last September and is one of seven university footballers in the last two seasons to be recruited to the professional game.

He also played for English Universities as a student and believes a good University football programme is key to enable players to go professional after graduation.

“Training with the Loughborough programme was almost like training full-time and we had very good coaches in James and Tom,” he said.

“I really think my experience at Loughborough has helped me a lot for the situation I’m in now as a full time footballer. It was brilliant work experience for me and meant that when I went to Coventry I had no inhibitions about training full time.

“The standard of University football is always improving. The guys here are playing the standard I was two years ago and look at me now. Loughborough’s Andy Brown is the top goal scorer in the Conference North, which shows the level of talent. If the players really want it and keep going they will be able to play professional too.”

The English Universities programme hopes to give players an insight into demands of the professional game and continue to develop players capable of playing at the highest level. Players were in Loughborough to undergo fitness testing and final game related practice to ensure the team is best prepared for the British University Games which take place in Edinburgh from 7-10 April.

Loughborough University players and their Non League clubs:

Liam Green (Loughborough University / Boston United FC)
Liam Hopkins (Loughborough University / Braintree Town FC)
Bradley Pritchard (Loughborough University / Nuneaton Borough FC)
Andy Brown (Loughborough University / Nuneaton Borough FC)


For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend, Sports PR Officer, Loughborough University,
T: 01509 228686, E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk

Notes for editors:

  1. A second Loughborough graduate, Leon McSweeney, was signed up to Stockport County in December.
  2. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry and unrivalled sporting achievement.

    It is a member of the esteemed 1994 Group – a set of internationally recognised, research intensive universities – and has a reputation for the relevance of its work. Its degree programmes are highly regarded by professional institutions and businesses, and its graduates are consistently targeted by the UK’s top recruiters.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    In the 2007 National Student Survey, the University was voted fourth in the UK, with 23 out of 29 of Loughborough’s subject areas being ranked in the top ten for overall satisfaction. Loughborough is also ranked in the top fifteen of UK universities in national league tables. It was named winner of the 2006 and 2007 Times Higher award for the UK’s Best Student Experience and winner of the 2007 award for Outstanding Support for Overseas Students. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes – an achievement bettered by no other university.

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