Courtesy: This is SomersetFrome Town's Luke Ballinger set for 50th England Futsal capThursday, April 26, 2012
Frome Town's Luke Ballinger is set to win his 50th cap when the England Futsal team take on Denmark next month.
Ballinger was part of the England squad that missed out on a place at the World Cup in agonising fashion earlier this year, as a late goal in another match denied them qualification.
Although it is a frustration for the Robins when he is not available for league duty, Ballinger believes that the England side deserve more recognition for their achievements, particularly as a part-time team, which he says has a similar work ethic to his club side.
"It's been a successful season in Futsal," he said. "We missed out on the World Cup and a trip to Thailand by 40 seconds, it was almost there for us.
"We're working hard and it's frustrating that we don't get the appreciation for the work the lads put in – we're a part-time team playing against professionals.
"It's hard work going away but it's just like at Frome – everyone wants to chip in and work hard.
"We've got Denmark at the end of May, which will be my 50th cap, so it's a great achievement personally and hopefully I can get a few more next season."
However, the difficulties of having a player in a national team are highlighted for Frome this week, with Ballinger unavailable on Saturday due to England Futsal training.
Town boss Darren Perrin hit out at the timing of the session and was thankful that his side have already secured safety and are not facing a crunch game without Ballinger.
"For them to have a training session on the last game of the non-league season is ridiculous," said Perrin.
"We're lucky that we're not still fighting against relegation, or trying to get into the play-offs – the timing is absolutely ridiculous.
"It's an honour for him to be captain and he's the leading scorer for his country. It's great for Luke but it can be pain in the backside at times.
"But we wouldn't ever stand in Luke's way to represent his country. It's good publicity for the club but it does present its problems."
England play Denmark on Friday, May 25, at Sporthouse, Barking (7.30pm).
Posted by Luca Ranocchiari