Terry 'overwhelmed' by meeting with servicemen

England captain hails the sacrifice of armed forces as players mix with the military

David Beckham fell prey to the prosthetic arm handshake gag. Rio Ferdinand was reminded of a reserve team game he played for West Ham against Bristol City. Fabio Capello's England players met members of Britain's armed forces yesterday to talk to them about their experiences.

Two sets of young people who represent their countries, two very different jobs but lots of common ground. Asked to mingle and attempt small talk, the England squad normally hide behind one another but yesterday they mixed easily with a group of servicemen and women of similar ages at the squad's Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire. John Terry said that the England players were eager to meet the representatives of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force who were invited to watch a Capello training session in the morning at Arsenal's London Colney training ground. Terry said: "The guys who are over there on behalf of our country, the nurses, everything, I think it is unbelievable what they do. They look at us because they love their football but when we come here to meet them we are a bit overwhelmed."

Royal Marine Ben McBean lost an arm and a leg in a landmine explosion Afghanistan and it was McBean who caught Beckham out with the fake arm which he was later asked to sign. McBean's rehabilitation has been so swift that he plans take part in a project to climb Everest in October. He said: "It's strange to meet all the players and a good experience. But they are just human beings like us."

The RAF sent players from their football team – currently the Inter-Service Cup champions – including Senior Aircraftman Michael Douglas, whose grandfather Bryan was the Blackburn Rovers and England winger of the 1950s and 1960s. Bryan also served in the RAF during the Second World War but was kept out the RAF team then by Stanley Matthews.

Michael, 29, a former Blackpool trainee, is a Chinook helicopter engineer who has served on seven tours in Afghanistan. "My grandfather went to the 1962 World Cup finals in Chile," he said. "He shared a room with Jimmy Greaves and, yes, he has got a few stories about him. He was also a mechanic in the RAF like me and I wind him up because he couldn't get into the RAF team because of Matthews.

"He signed for Blackburn when he was 15 and then came back to play for them after his National Service. He scored against Scotland at Hampden Park in a 4-0 win [in 1958] and he said that although the place was packed you could have heard a pin drop every time one of England's goals went in."

Also from the RAF, Sergeant Nick de Long, 30, from Bristol, reminded Ferdinand of the time he played against him for Bristol City reserves. "I am the same age as Rio and played for the reserves against West Ham. In fact, I marked Marco Boogers. Rio and Frank Lampard played in that team and, of all of them, Rio stood out. He played at the back and everything went through him. You could tell then he was going to be a great player. I mentioned it to him and he said, 'Ah, that was when they used to let me play the way I wanted'."

Ferdinand said: "We have seen so much on television about how these guys go about their work and the sacrifices they make for our well-being, for us to be able to share the same room is a privilege ... they are more worthy of the word 'hero' than we are."

Arts and Entertainment
Sheeran arrives at the 56th annual Grammy Awards earlier this year
musicYes, that would be Ed Sheeran, according to the BBC
Sport
Rio Ferdinand, Alan Shearer, Alan Hansen and Gary Lineker during Hansen's final broadcast
Sport
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?