Diallo adamant Britain can shine at London 2012 after World Cup silver
IBRAHIMA Diallo admits meeting his England heroes inspired him as Great Britain won a silver medal at the BT Paralympic World Cup.
GOAL MACHINE: Ibrahima Diallo was among the scorers as Britain claimed silver at the World Cup in Manchester
Diallo and his cerebral palsy 7-a-side teammates got the chance to meet Roy Hodgson's squad as they trained at the Etihad Stadium ahead of Euro 2012.
Hours later Diallo netted twice as Great Britain thrashed the USA 7-0 over the road at the City of Manchester Arena on their way to the final where they fell 4-2 to Brazil.
Despite only joining the squad in September, Diallo has become a key player ending up as top scorer with seven in Manchester - and he insisted meeting the likes of Steven Gerrard played a huge part.
"It was a great inspiration for me to meet the England squad," said Diallo. "It gave us a great lift - I just enjoyed watching them train and tried to copy them on the pitch.
"I was just really happy to see all the players, especially Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain because I'm an Arsenal fan.
"If you'd told me before December I would be playing for Great Britain and meeting the England squad I would've just laughed so I'm looking forward to London and hopefully getting on the podium.
"A Paralympic gold medal would be my greatest achievement, and if we keep training as we are and everyone follows their programs then I reckon we've got a great chance of doing it.
"We do have to play Brazil in our group though. They're a typical Brazilian team - ‘you score one and we'll score five' is their philosophy. They've just got so much confidence.
"But the Brazilians are beatable, we just need to defend a bit better against them and then we can get something against them hopefully in London."
When he's not finding the back of the net for Great Britain, Diallo is busy studying IT at Filton College as he aims for a degree in business management at university.
There will be no rest for Diallo after his exertions in Manchester with his final year exams coming up, but it's his classmates' results he might have to be worried about more than his own.
"Apparently everyone at college wasn't even studying, they were all just watching me play at the BT Paralympic World Cup on Channel 4," added Diallo.
"My friends all said they're really proud of me. They were even texting me that the teachers were watching it too.
"I'm planning on going to uni but I just want to keep playing as much as I can and concentrate on my game. Hopefully it will pay off."
The BT Paralympic World Cup took place in Manchester from 22-26 May with elite international athletes competing in Athletics, Football 7-aside and Wheelchair Basketball. Go to www.btparalympicworldcup.com for more information
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