22-year-old Sohail Rehman was invited by the FA to watch a training session
A sports coach who was recently recruited by Manchester United has been given the opportunity to train with the national squad.
22-year-old Sohail Rehman was invited by the FA to watch a training session with Roy Hodgson’s England team.
Known as one of the world’s first wheelchair users to coach non-disabled football players, Sohail has beaten the odds to pursue his passion for the sport.
The coach suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy which causes muscles in the body to weaken over time and eventually leads to overall loss of movement.
Although forced to stop playing football aged 13, Sohail wasn’t ready to give up.
“I loved everything to do with football as a kid,” he said.
“I remember going to the specialists and there were these people I’d never met in my life telling me I was never going to walk again. I was thinking, ‘How can they say that?’”
Restricted from playing, Sohail decided to take up coaching and obtained his level-three Football Association badges.
This is not the first time he has had the chance to watch football stars train, having previously attended a training session with Manchester United on one of their Dream Days.
“I wanted to talk to the players about Rooney’s bicycle kick and Van Persie scoring these great goals but they wanted to speak about me which was amazing.”
But with success comes doubters and many have questioned Sohail’s ability to coach due to his physical state.
“It doesn’t affect me, as long as I can see a player that I’ve coached score goals then I’m not fussed.”
As such, players being coached by Sohail have vouched for his expertise, calling his knowledge of the game “exceptional”.
Looking to the future, the Leeds local has big dreams.
“For me the achievement will be if you see a coach in a wheelchair in the football league or if you put on your Saturday night Match of the Day and you see a coach in a wheelchair on the side line, for me that’s an achievement.”