English football fans can finally celebrate an international cup win after a 19-year-old was crowned world champion – at trick KEEPY-UPPIES.
Talented Andrew Henderson, 19, has ended 45 years of hurt by winning the World Freestyle Football World Championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
He dazzled the judges with a jaw-dropping range of tricks to music in which he balanced the ball on his nose, shoulder, neck and even the heels of his feet.
His routine combines a stunning array of gymnastics, break dancing and football skills.
He is able to do a handstand with the ball perched behind his neck and also lies on his back whilst doing ‘horizontal keepy up’.
Andrew, who practices for up to ten hours a day, now makes a living from his hobby and has even acted as a stunt double for Manchester United players in a TV ad.
He said: ”It’s amazing to think I’m world champion. It was really hard work and training is gruelling but it’s all worth it.
”It was nerve-racking performing on the world’s biggest stage but thankfully I kept my nerve and they seemed impressed.
”It’s an unusual way to make a living but I love what I do.
”I sort of got into it by accident really. I used to kick around with my mates then one day saw a video online and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
”It was someone doing incredible skills and I knew that was what I wanted to do.
”I trained every minute I got, which did affect my studies a bit, but now it’s worth it.”
Andrew first started honing his skills aged 15, when he would go down to his local tennis courts and practice with his mates.
But while others saw it as a bit of fun, Andrew developed and fine-tuned his skills, often practicing up to ten hours a day on his own.
Despite this, he still managed three grade C’s in A-Levels in Law, Human Biology and, of course, PE.
He left school and turned professional at 16 and now travels the world performing in exhibitions and competitions.
The teenager carefully regulates his diet, doesn’t drink, and has travelled to 13 different countries this year alone to compete.
He choreographs all his own routines, which can take up to a six months to perfect, and is able to contort his body into a dazzling array of moves.
Andrew, who lives with his parents in Truro, Cornwall, added: ”It was around the time of my A-Levels I decided I wanted to do it professionally, and I had to choose between university or freestyle football.
”It can be quite a lucrative industry for the very top echelons and I’ve already appeared in a few adverts and promotional events so I will keep practising and hopefully have a good career.”
His unique skill has seen seen him meet some of the world’s legends including Brazilians Zico and Romario.
He has even acted as a stunt double for some of the game’s big names including Manchester United’s Michal Owen and Nemanja Vidic in a Nike TV ad.
Andrew beat competitors from across the glove including Brazil, Japan and Spain to win the world title on September 17.
He will defend his UK championship title – which he has held for three years – in Nottingham next month.
Andrew is also heavily involved with the Freestyle Football Federation (F3) which helps promote healthy living and skills development to youngsters in 48 different countries