A WIRRAL man has returned a world champion after starring in England’s Senior team who retained their title at the World Cup in Thailand.

Kevin Mooney, 57, returned home to Upton after playing in his sixth World Cup game since joining the senior squad in 2010.

The ex-Tranmere Rovers defender travelled to the tournament in the northern city of Chiang Mai and played six games in a scorching 30 degree heat to win the competition.

Kevin told the Globe: “This was probably the best tournament ever this year.

“I’ve played football all my life as professional and semi-professional so it’s great to get another win.”

There are complex rules for the senior team to embrace young and old veterans – this means that there must be three over 50s and only three younger players between 38 and 43.

Organised by the Seniors Football Association in Thailand, The Seniors World Cup is supported by the Thai FA.

The inaugural tournament was played in 2006 to re-establish tourism and bring additional football coaching to underprivileged children in the country following the devastating Tsunami that hit the country 16 months earlier.

“It’s such a great experience as we visited some schools while we were there meeting the young Thai children, they make you feel so special and humble.

“I will never forget meeting them.

“That’s the main reason why I go, it is humbling and we get to play football.”

After being victorious against Australia in the semi-final, England went on to beat Iran 2-0 in the final and were once again crowned champions.

On getting into the veteran squad, Kevin said: “I was playing against Harrogate in Liverpool and after the match I got the phone call from their manager who said he was manager of the England squad.

“At first I thought he’s pulling my leg and I thought it was one of my mates having a laugh.

“He told me he’d send me an email with all the details and let me think about it.

“I’m the oldest in the squad but my legs and body are very good for my age.

“Only eight teams get invited so we play group games. It’s quite gruelling as we play six or seven games in a week – it’s tough.

“But we always make sure we have a night out when we get there and then go to training.

“I can’t say it’s a holiday but I’m not sure how long I’ve got left and I love playing football.

“It definitely brings life into perspective.”