Former Inter Milan Champions League winner to face Bradford City in FA Cup
The main image to this article (above) shows Ben Greenhalgh turning out for Inverness Caledonian Thistle in a 2013 pre-season friendly against Charlton Athletic. He currently plays for National League South side Tonbridge Angels and will feature in the FA Cup against Bradford City on November 7th. However, a little-known fact amongst City fans is that they will be turning out against a former Inter Milan winger with a Champions League medal to his name.
first signing for Inter milan : Ben Greenhalgh, winner of football's next star who won a contract at Inter pic.twitter.com/qXs02vQCdX
— The_FM_Project (@The_FM_Project) March 26, 2014
That contract at Inter Milan came about after the then 17-year-old Greenhalgh won Sky One’s ‘Football’s Next Star’ reality competition. It was a reality show where on the judges were Marco Monti and Paolo Migliavacca, both youth coaches at Inter. Out of 7,000 applicants, Greenhalgh won through and won the contract (below) with the Italian giants.
After winning, youngster Greenhalgh was in fantasy land; he was a 17-year-old from Kent out in Serie A and training alongside some of the world’s most recognisable names such as Ricardo Quaresma, Lucio, Mario Balotelli and Patrick Vieira (below).
Speaking in a story earlier this year, Greenhalgh told the Daily Mail a little about what it was like out there, at Inter, a club managed then by current Spurs boss Jose Mourinho. He explained:
“It was definitely nerve-racking. Sometimes when I watch these shows now, people play up to the cameras but we didn’t do that. Early on, we were watching the first-team train when they needed another body. I got the call over, and I remember receiving the ball from [Ricardo] Quaresma. I started running at Lucio and my legs turned to jelly! I looked up and realised who I was trying to dribble past.”
Greenhalgh was part of the travelling squad for the 2010 Champions League final and has a winner’s medal to prove it. After his six-month spell with Inter, he was given a further six months at the club and loaned out to Serie C outfit FC Como – for whom he scored 8 goals in 12 games.
After his Inter experience, he returned to domestic football in England and was picked up by Welling United, for whom he played in the Under-18s before leaving for Italy. Since that time in 2012, Greenhalgh played for a further eight clubs, including Inverness Caledonian Thstle and Stenhousmuir, before signing for Tonbridge from Dartford FC in January this year.
Next up for Ben Greenhalgh is a tie against League Two side Bradford City. It will pit his Tonbridge Angels side from the sixth tier of English football against a Bantams side from two tiers above in League Two. It’s the first time in 48 years that the Angels have gotten this far in English football’s premier cup competition.
Images taken from Ben Greenhalgh’s Instagram page
Magic of the FA cup.
Will burn Angels wings.