Ward plays at Wembley

Tom Ward with Ray Parlour, left, and Gary Mabbutt, right. Picture: Jakob Ebrey

Tom Ward with Ray Parlour, left, and Gary Mabbutt, right. Picture: Jakob Ebrey - Credit: Archant

Football fan Tom Ward won the chance of a lifetime last week and got to experience what life is really like as an England international.

Ward, from Westfield Court in St Albans, won the opportunity to run out at Wembley Stadium in the brand new England kit as part of a competition organised by Vauxhall, the England Team sponsor.

The England fans all met at the 90,000-seater stadium in preparation for the game of their lives on the hallowed turf and as a surprise on the day were managed by England legends and North London rivals Ray Parlour and Gary Mabbutt.

Ward said: “It’s been a truly unforgettable experience, to play here, in this magnificent stadium alongside legends of the game, what else can I say.

“We were given behind the scenes access at Wembley and to run out of the tunnel was an unbelievable experience.

“And then when the managers were revealed, the look on everyone’s faces was something I’ll never forget, we just couldn’t believe it.

“The whole day has been a dream come true, I honestly couldn’t have wished for anything better.”

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One of the team managers for the day, Ray Parlour, added: “The players have been fantastic and we’ve all had a magnificent day thanks to Vauxhall.

“I am sure they will all remember this day for a very long time - it’s not everyday you run out at Wembley Stadium.”

The players, who were from across the UK, had taken part in a national competition run by Vauxhall across a number of platforms including their dedicated football website.

Vauxhall head of sponsorship Chris Hornbuckle said: “This is our fourth year of running the Big Pitch competition and we have been completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of entries.

“To fulfil the childhood dreams of England fans is something we are very proud of and the perfect start to what is set to be a fantastic summer of football.”