Goldstein revels in Maccabi GB Awards glory


England star Russell Goldstein insists he can take the Futsal World Cup by storm after winning the top individual prize at the Maccabi GB Sports Awards.

Goldstein was crowned elite athlete of the year, while trampolinist Josh Newman, who is also from Essex, received the top national level accolade.

Goldstein, who is 21 and from Redbridge, flew to Hungary earlier this week bidding to help the England team secure a top two finish at the main qualifying round of the Futsal World Cup.

England will face the Ukraine, who are ranked ninth in the world, along with Belgium and Hungary, a challenge Goldstein describes as a “huge test”.

He said: “No England team has ever reached this stage before so to get here is already a phenomenal achievement.

“The squad is in good shape and we’re raring to go in Hungary as we’ve been classed underdogs. We’re relishing the prospect of testing ourselves against some of the best teams in the world.

“I only starting playing futsal five years ago. I was not selected for the football competition at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, but I was given a lifeline by the U16 futsal squad.

“At the time, playing futsal rather than football was seen by some as a step down, but I scored two goals in the bronze play-off against France and have never looked back.”

Goldstein helped the Open team win bronze at the European Maccabi Games in Vienna two years later and has been involved in the national set-up ever since.

Speaking about his award, Goldstein said: “There is a great sense of pride of achievement that all my hard work has paid off.

“I felt proud to be nominated and elated and honoured to have won such a prestigious prize.”

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