Josh Butler to go for England glory – then work at fish and chip restaurant

JOSH Butler hopes to fry the French when he joins England’s World Cup winners as they look to stave off a revenge mission.

Then it is back to work at a fish and chip restaurant tomorrow.


Wheelchair star Josh Butler will be back at work in a fish and chip restaurant less than 24 hours after playing for EnglandCredit: JOSH BUTLER

Leeds ace Butler is the new face in Tom Coyd’s side for the rematch of last year’s Wheelchair World Cup final, which England won in front of a record crowd.

He will be lining up alongside cousin and captain Tom Halliwell, who received an OBE – and a playful gift – after his try sealed a famous 28-24 victory.

But whatever happens in his home city today, there cannot be too much partying or drowning of sorrows – he has a shift at the Skyliner to go to.

“I’m back in tomorrow. “I’m on a lunchtime shift, about 11am.

“The owners gave me a couple of days off for the camp so I could prepare properly. As soon as it’s over, though, I’m putting in as many hours as I can to help pay them back.

“I’ll make sure everything coming in from the restaurant gets cleaned, I’ll prepare things like salads and make sure any desserts or starters look nice presentation-wise.


“It’s a nice little place to work at and I really enjoy it. The owners are big fans of the sport and my boss will be watching today!

“I love the fact they support me the way I do.  I’ll either get a standing ovation or a consolation hug.”

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Butler, an able-bodied player who plays the wheelchair game as an eye condition means he cannot play the running version, is the first new name in Coyd’s plans as he looks towards the next World Cup.

The success and exposure the sport got last year has lifted it to a whole new level – as showed by the venues they are playing in.

“England and France first played each other in car parks outside sports halls,” added Butler. “The first game played over here was in a car park!

Leeds star Butler gets to play for his country in his home city


Leeds star Butler gets to play for his country in his home cityCredit: SWPIX.COM

“Then we got into sports halls and built all the way to the Copperbox, Manchester Central and now the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

“And this game being in Leeds is massive for me personally having grown up there and being a Rhinos fan my entire life.

“Playing alongside Tom makes it all the more special. He doesn’t mention his OBE as much now but at his first training session after it was announced, he was given a foam sword to knight people!

“This sport deserves that recognition. It’s been a best kept secret for far too long. To represent my country in Leeds, in front of all my friends and family, what could be better?”

England play France in a World Cup final rematch at Leeds' First Direct Arena


England play France in a World Cup final rematch at Leeds’ First Direct ArenaCredit: SWPIX.COM

England’s big guns are back, with Jack Brown flying in from Australia and Seb Bechara – who lives in France and plays for Catalans Dragons – up against pals.

But Butler cannot wait to rise back to the highest level today.

He told SunSport: “I’ve never played for England with Jack before – that’s big for me.

“The call-up came as a massive surprise and every England v France game is a grudge match.”

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