SOCCER legends Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst today gave their backing to a team of homeless men preparing to take on the world.
Huddersfield man Kevin Wilson, 22, is goalkeeper in England's eight man squad for the Homeless World Cup.
Kevin, who was brought up by foster parents, plays for the Single Homeless Accommodation Project (Shap) team in Huddersfield.
He slept rough until being given a flat in Marsh through the project.
Charities The Big Issue in the North and Street League, which uses football to help boost education and social integration, will fly the eight sportsmen to Sweden with funding from the Football Foundation.
The players will compete next month with 32 national teams in a huge five-a-side tournament.
Today, England's 1966 hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst said: "I was lucky enough to experience the thrill of playing in a World Cup and know the players involved in the Homeless World Cup will feel truly privileged to be taking part.
"This tournament helps raise awareness of the homeless problem across the globe and can provide the players with a sense of self-respect.
"I wish them every success and hope they can help boost England's pride by returning home as victors," added Sir Geoff, who is McDonald's director of football.
England's highest-ever goalscorer Sir Bobby Charlton also passed on his best wishes, saying: "Best of luck to the squad. It's a valuable initiative which will inevitably change their lives for the better."
Coaches from Manchester United selected the English squad from around 1,000 hopefuls who attended the United's Carrington training ground.
Last year the England team came second in the inaugural Homeless World Cup, held in Graz, Austria - losing to the host nation in the final.
Other squad members are Londoners Ahmet Akdag, 22, Derrell Miller, 22, Auric Afrani, 23 and Adeleke Adeniji, 21.
They are joined by Tony Sheerin, 24, Alex Edwards, 17, and Joe Torode, 19, from Merseyside.