Tim's on top of the world

ROOKIE footballer Tim Lees is off to Germany to play in the World Cup, writes Andy Williams.

And while he is not quite ready to represent his country at senior level just yet, the 20-year-old is one of eight amateur footballers chosen to represent England in the Bud Cup - an international six-a-side tournament being played in stadiums ahead of each World Cup game.

Tim was selected ahead of thousands of youngsters aged over 18 from trials in Manchester and London. The final eight were hand picked by the team's manager and ex-England international Jamie Redknapp.

Amazingly, Tim had only just finished filming the Pepsi Max World Challenge - where a team of the two most talented youngsters from 15 countries fought for a $100,000 prize, getting pro hints and tips from the likes of David Beckham, Ronaldinho and Thierry Henry.

It had been broadcast for the past six weeks on Channel Four - and the UK team, Tim and Marcel Jones from London, finished in a creditable fourth place.

Tim, from Golborne, said: "I couldn't believe it when I got through to this," said Tim today. "I have only just come down from the buzz of the Pepsi World Challenge.

"You just can't wipe the grin off my face. We'll be watching a couple of the games as well, and one of them is going to be one of Brazil's matches.

"It will be an amazing experience, I can't wait."

Tim will join up with his teammates in Cologne on June 25 and their first game together will be at the newly-built 40,000 seater Rhein-Energie stadium on June 29. They will face sides from Italy, Argentina, the USA and the Netherlands.

He's still hoping to make it as a professional footballer and says that if he can't get some interest after twice being selected as the best of his age group in the country, then he may as well call it a day.

Since the end of the programme, which aired on Sunday, Tim has set up his own soccer skills coaching course for youngsters.

"I got released when I was younger because they said I was too small," he said. "But I've grown since. Just as I was getting some offers to train with academy sides, I was in a car accident. I'm back to full fitness now and looking for another chance.

"I'm grateful for these opportunities and I'm determined to take them with both hands."