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Welsh League move for ex-Arsenal star Merson

PUBLISHED: 16:35 11 October 2017

Paul Merson (right) celebrates a goal with Arsenal team-mates John Hartson and Lee Dixon (pic Owen Humphreys/PA)

Paul Merson (right) celebrates a goal with Arsenal team-mates John Hartson and Lee Dixon (pic Owen Humphreys/PA)

PA Archive/PA Images

Welsh League Division Three team Caerau have received international clearance to play former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson.

Paul Merson holds off Jody Morris during the charity football match to raise funds for Grenfell Tower survivors at QPR's Loftus Road Stadium (pic Victoria Jones/PA) Paul Merson holds off Jody Morris during the charity football match to raise funds for Grenfell Tower survivors at QPR's Loftus Road Stadium (pic Victoria Jones/PA)

Caerau secretary Dai Hooper confirmed to Press Association Sport all the required paperwork had now come through which will make the 49-year-old available for the home match against Pontyclun on October 18.

Merson, who won 21 England caps, was part of the Arsenal team which won the First Division championship in both 1988/89 and 1990/91 as well as the 1993 FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994.

The midfielder left Highbury for Middlesbrough in 1997 and also had spells with Aston Villa, Portsmouth and Walsall, going on to manage the Saddlers between 2004 and 2006 before taking up a role as a media pundit for Sky Sports.

Hooper hopes the presence of Merson, whom he got to know after they met at a function, can help raise the profile of the Maesteg-based side.

“The international clearance has just come through this morning,” Hooper told Press Association Sport.

“I tried to text Paul this morning, but he was busy at work. I have spoken to him and he is over the moon.

“Paul said he is having a little run out in a friendly game for someone to get himself a bit of fitness and is really looking forward to it.”

Hooper added: “We are a very small club moving forward, but we have got some marvellous things happening.

“Our chairman Steve Williams has been really working hard to raise funds for a new 4G pitch, stand and academy for the kids, so I am hopeful with the help of people like Paul, we can raise the profile a lot.”

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