Chester FC teenager Oliver Nugent is confident his recent performances for Great Britain out in Spain will be enough to land him a place in the Team GB squad for the Rio 2016 Paralympics.
Nugent took on some of the world’s best footballers with cerebral palsy at the start of this month as his Great Britain side finished fourth at the IFCPF Pre-Paralympic Tournament in Salou.
The 18-year-old was one of the youngest members of the squad but featured in four of the five matches, only missing out on the 3-2 third-place play-off defeat to the Netherlands and scoring in the opening 4-0 win over the USA.
Great Britain came second in their group after beating Ireland 3-1 and losing 4-0 to eventual runners-up Brazil, while they missed out on a place in the final having lost 3-1 to tournament winners Ukraine.
Nugent, who has cerebral palsy after suffering a stroke when he was born, said: “It was great weather for a start and it was a challenge to get used to that and the football was a great experience as well, playing all of the teams that will be in the Paralympics.
“I thought in all the games that I played in went really well individually and I did everything the manager said and he was pleased with me, so I couldn’t have done much more.
“I had a great start and it was a big boost for my confidence coming on and scoring.
“It wasn’t the official tournament obviously but the games were really competitive and it was a good chance to get used to the teams we would be playing in the Paralympics and World Cups and get me used to playing in these bigger tournaments.
“With the way I have been playing lately and the ability that I have then I am confident I will make the Rio squad but it is ultimately down to the manager and the staff at Great Britain to make the decision if I deserve to go or not.”
Nugent has enjoyed a hugely successful 2015-16 season following his move from Tranmere Rovers, helping Chester secured a league and cup double and putting in a man of the match performance in the FA Youth Cup against Oldham Athletic.
The Blues won the North West Youth Alliance Premier Division title and then claimed the NWYA Open Cup Final with a 4-1 win over Ashton Athletic on Sunday.
Nugent, who made his senior debut against Hyde United in the Cheshire Senior Cup in January , is now waiting to find out if he will be offered a professional contract by Chester after team-mates Kieran Evans and Matty Waters signed deals last mont h.
Nugent said: “I have not heard back at the moment. I have just come back from Spain so I have not spoken to them about it.
"I definitely have the hope of becoming a professional footballer and if I do then I think I’ll be the first person with cerebral palsy to do that."
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