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Gib youngsters enjoying life at Peña Madridista Linense

We caught up with the five Gibraltarian youngsters who currently ply their trade in Spain with Peña Madridista Linense in category 3ª Andaluza Infantil.

Kai Bartolo, Michael Charvetto Parody, Jay Coombes, Daniel Smith, and Evan Villa gave us an insight into playing in Spain, their idols, and more.


  • Name: Mikey Charvetto Parody
  • Age: 12
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • Idol: Alisson Becker because he is the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment. Makes difficult saves look easy while being brave on the pitch and a great sportsman.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Jayce Olivero

Q: How have you found your time playing in Spain?

A: The standard of training and matches in Spain is higher than in Gibraltar and more intense. There are more teams in the league. You have to travel to other pitches on away matches and you don’t always know your opposition which makes things more interesting.


  • Name: Jay Coombes
  • Age: 13
  • Position: Defender
  • Idol: Carlos Puyol because he was a great captain, fantastic defender, and humble person.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Lee Coombes

Q: What kind of impact has Lee Coombes & Jamie Coombes had on your development as a footballer?

A: Lee and Jamie have had a great impact on me as a footballer, watching them play from a very young age made me develop my passion for the game. It also made me realise I wanted more, football is my life and my dream is to make it happen.


  • Name: Daniel Smith ‘Dani’
  • Age: 13
  • Position: Midfielder
  • Idol: Steven Gerrard because he was a leader on the pitch and was a great example as a professional footballer.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Roy Chipolina

Q: How has playing in Spain helped you as a player?

A: You start playing 11-aside at a younger age, and you play on a full-sized pitch. The football matches are very physical, so You have to work on your strength. You may not always start a game or play in the position you want to, so it has also helped me develop my mental strength. I have become more confident, and I am enjoying the experience of playing in a different country.


  • Name: Kai Bartolo
  • Age: 13
  • Position: Winger
  • Idol: Neymar Jr because he uses a lot of skill and pace. He is always aware of the pitch and is one step ahead of everyone else which leads to him creating chances and score goals.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Lee Casciaro

Q: What’s changed in your approach to playing football in Spain compared to Gibraltar?

A: When I first moved to Spain I joined a team that was a year older which enabled me to play in games in my team and the team of my age group. I found the training more intense and more physical. We trained three times a week and had a league game every weekend. I had to understand the style of play and learn new skills. It was competitive so I had to increase my pace. Overall, I believe my ability to play football has increased rapidly in such a short space of time. Spanish football has more competition within games, which enables me to focus and be in the right mindset for the game. In Gibraltar, the competition levels were not high because all the good players move to one or two good teams. I am glad that I play in Spain because I face different and difficult challenges in each game.


  • Name: Evan Villa
  • Age: 12
  • Position: Winger
  • Idol: Kylian Mbappé because of his commitment and how he plays on the pitch, his style of play, and his pace.
  • An admirable player in Gibraltar: Andrew Hernandez

Q: With Andrew once playing for one of Cadiz’s youth teams, does Spanish youth football match your playing style?

A: Yes, Spanish football does match my playing style as it is more tactical, physical and there is more competition in the league.

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McClafferty: “It felt amazing to make my debut”

FG caught up with 15-year old Paddy McClafferty about making his senior debut for CD San Roque a few weeks ago, advice on playing abroad and more.

We asked Paddy how his move to CD San Roque came about, “I have been playing for San Roque since I was 8 Years old (pre-benjamin) for a team named Naranjitos which then converted into Club San Roque. I was invited by a friend to train with San Roque – I decided to give it a go and since then I took an immediate like to the team.”

Paddy made his senior debut for CD San Roque in their 2-1 win over Atletico Espeleno two weeks ago – we asked him how it felt, “When I was told it was time for me to play, I was very excited and I wanted to play immediately! I remained calm and focused and didn’t think of anything else but playing my role and doing my job on the pitch. It felt amazing to make my debut and a great sense of achievement!”

We asked Paddy how playing in Spain has impacted him as a player, “Playing in Spain has improved my football skills and knowledge of the game. The pace and intensity of the matches in Spain are excellent and challenging however this is what I love about it. It helps me to progress as a player as I am constantly being challenged.”

Playing abroad for any footballer is difficult, whether how young or old, – Paddy had some advice for those young footballers looking to make the massive step to play over the boarder or anywhere in the world, “Players of my age or younger who want to play abroad should definitely try it and move out of your comfort zone. Playing abroad takes discipline and courage but if you want to thrive anywhere as football, this is what it takes.”

Making his senior debut at 15, involved in the Gibraltar U16’s – Paddy gave us an insight into his goals for the next five years, “Sign a professional contract for a 1st division team. Advance my skills and grow as a footballer. Succeed not only with my football but with my academic grades and results. To make it pro and slowly work my way up the ranks.”

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Lincoln’s Intermediate side maintain unbeaten record

Lincoln Intermediate maintained their 100% record in the Intermediate League this season when they beat Glacis Intermediate 4-0 on Sunday, with the return to action of Jamie Bosio and Pibe an added bonus for both Malcolm Martin’s side, as well as Lincoln’s first team in the second half of the season.

Photo © Neil Wilson/Lincoln Red Imps

Lincoln, who won the Intermediate League and have actually yet to lose a league game since the division was created, beat a Glacis side who before the game had only lost one of their eight fixtures, with a lot of the younger players in the Glacis team featuring for both the main and U23 sides.

As well as the side having been a springboard for some of their younger talent, such as Julian Del Rio and Craig Galliano, to make appearances in the first team this season, the U23 side have also acted as a first playing step in the return to first team football of both Jamie Bosio and Pibe. Bosio, who missed 14 months of football after suffering an injury for Gib United last season, joined Lincoln’s Intermediate side both as a way to get back into the game, after Gib United went bust in the summer, but also to help Lincoln’s youngsters both on and off the pitch using his experience, having played for the national team 12 times. The midfielder returned as a sub last week and was afforded a standing ovation against Manchester 62’s Intermediate side upon his return, while he also played 30 minutes vs Glacis Intermediate yesterday.

Meanwhile, for Pibe, who joined Lincoln from Mons Calpe in the summer, the striker will be looking to get back into regular first team action soon, helping to spearhead an impressive attack on paper for Lincoln – although he will have stiff competition to earn his place up top for Victor Afonso’s side, with the likes of Kike and Idelino Colubali getting in on the goals this season already.

For Malcolm Martin, the aim will be to continue developing the next generation of Lincoln youngsters with the aim of getting them as regular first team players, especially when you consider the likes of Roy Chipolina, Lee Casciaro and Kyle Goldwin are all 34 or older – he’ll also be hoping to catch the eye as a manager too, with there being a belief especially within Lincoln circles that he could make the step up to coach one of the youth national sides in the not too distant future.

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Gibraltar U19s concede 43 goals in 3 qualifying matches

Steve Cummings and his Gibraltar U19’s suffered badly in their U19 qualifying campaign this month, conceding 43 goals in three matches after today’s 16-1 defeat against Switzerland.

The team, which admittedly was not helped by having five of their eligible players called up to the U21 side for their international matches, suffered 14-0 and 13-0 defeats against Austria and Republic of Ireland in their first two games, and notably by the time the game vs Switzerland came about, Gib only had four substitutes available for the game, despite setting off for Austria with a 19-man squad. Craig Galliano’s penalty was the only positive note in the final match, although by then that was to make the score 5-1.

The results however will no doubt be of concern to GFA officials, especially considering the last U19 qualifying campaign saw 18 goals conceded in 3 matches, and 19 in the tournament before that – the total of 43 this time out is alarming, as are some of the other stats from the three games*:

130 – shots conceded (1 shot every 2 minutes, 4 seconds)

69 – shots on target conceded (1 shot every 3 minutes, 54 seconds)

6 minutes, 16 seconds – minutes and seconds per goal conceded

7 – shots taken (1 shot every 38 minutes, 34 seconds)

3 – shots on target (1 shot on target every 90 minutes)

Naturally, the general reaction within local footballing circles has not been positive, and the recent trip to Taiwan for the Development Tournament, where Gib beat Hong Kong and narrowly lost to Myanmar and the host nation Chinese Taipei, has not provided the momentum perhaps hoped for. For Cummings, his job may be under threat given there has been a sharp downturn in the performances of the team in such a short space of time. For the players, who in truth will have not been able to do much about these performances, this will be a very steep learning curve for them – the job for the clubs and families of these players now is to ensure the players aren’t too adversely affected by the results and that it doesn’t stunt their development too much.

The only respite going forward for Gib is that this is the last campaign at U19 level in this format, with the next qualifiers taking on a Nations League set-up. Gib will therefore play U19 teams more at their level in future campaigns which hopefully will lead to a more balanced playing field. Hopefully this month’s disastrous campaign can be used as a springboard to work on improving the U19 team (and other youth teams) going forward both on and off the pitch – from how they play when in a game to ensuring they are still developing while at university in UK by ensuring they get places at proper clubs, and not just uni teams, where the standard is basically Sunday League (the university issue is a major problem for Gib at this level, but is something to discuss in a different article) and much more – especially given in a few years a lot of these youngsters will be potentially making the senior side.

*All stats courtesy of UEFA.com.

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De Barr: “The last few days have been great for me”

After the recent international break, we caught up with Lincoln and Gibraltar midfielder Tjay De Barr, who featured for both the U21s and the senior national team in the last few days.

Photo (C) C Correa Photography

Having been in the squad for all three games, De Barr started last night against Russia in the U21 qualifiers, after coming off the bench just over 48 hours before for the national team against Latvia. We asked the 18-year old for his thoughts on the 5-0 defeat against the Russians: “First, I’d like to thank everyone who turned up to support us throughout both games, it’s always better playing with the crowd behind you. My thoughts against Russia, we had a game plan set up by our managers and we tried to stick to it, I think the first 40 minutes of the game was great keeping it 0-0 however we lost focus for whatever reason and they managed to get 2 goals before half time.

In these kind of games, you need to stay focused and concentrated through the whole 93 minutes and if you just drop your heads once they put a goal passed you and I think that’s what happened with us. However, I think the whole team did amazing and everyone gave their 100% so I’m happy with that and obviously it’s always a great feeling knowing everyone is giving their all.”

Originally, De Barr was only meant to be in the U21 squad, but injuries to the main team saw him given a call-up to Desi Curry’s side for the 1-0 win in the friendly international. De Barr, who won the free-kick that lead to Liam Walker’s 88th minute winner, had this to say about his experience in recent days: “The last few days have been great for me. There was three big games being played at the rock and I can admit I was nervous but I loved the feeling of it, I was excited for the first game versus Serbia but for whatever reason I didn’t manage to come on so I was looking towards the next game vs Russia, however then the first team called me up to be part of the squad for the Latvia game. Again same as under 21’s the first team had a plan to do and I think it came out great, being part of it all was amazing for me and making a senior debut here in Gibraltar in front of our home I think personally was the best way to do it, I hope to be able to represent Gibraltar in senior level again or in whichever age group it may be it’s always a privilege to represent your country.”

De Barr is gradually being introduced into his club side, Lincoln, who are dominating the league this season, with the attacking midfielder featuring at some point in 11 league games this season. With the league firmly in Lincoln’s grasp, we asked what his ambitions were at domestic level for the rest of the season: “Now it’s back to the league with Lincoln, I think we need to continue what we are doing, throughout the whole season we’ve been focused, and we need to remain that way. Obviously, I will be looking to win the league first and then the cup but everyone in Lincoln wants our three trophies back.”