Shropshire Star

How Carl Winchester had to cross the Belfast divide to succeed

You never know what risks and sacrifices footballers have had to make in their lives to get to the highest level.


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Not many will have put themselves in danger on the quest to play professional football, but as a youngster growing up in Belfast, Carl Winchester did.

The Shrewsbury Town midfielder grew up in West Belfast and is a Catholic, but as a boy, he made the bold move to join Linfield, a Protestant club.

Winchester says the decision was a risk, and his parents did not necessarily agree on what was the right thing to do at first, but he was glad he made the call.

He said: "I was asked to join Linfield, they were the big club about, and they were scouting the best young talent in the country.

"They were starting up an academy at the time, but Linfield is a Protestant club, and I am a Catholic. They came in and at the time you had never heard of a kid from West Belfast joining a Protestant team.

"I remember my dad came into and said to my mum 'Linfield want Carl to go and join' and I can remember my mum saying 'He is not going, no way.'