MOST people in East Lancashire will be supporting England in their opening World Cup match tonight - but several of our newest residents will be cheering on the men in blue.
A group of Italian nurses recently started working at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and have been exchanging some friendly banter with patients and colleagues ahead of the Azzurri’s clash with Roy Hodgson’s boys in Brazil.
Gioele Attardo, 23, from Sicily, said: “We are having some friends round to watch the match but our team aren’t very good at the moment so I think England will win. It’s been fun talking about the game with the patients and our colleagues. One was joking that he wanted a different nurse because he didn’t want an Italian, but it was all friendly.
Carmine Accardo, 24, from Napoli, said: “Patients have been talking and joking about the match a lot and it’s been fun. I live in Blackburn but I’m a little bit scared of English guys so I don’t think I’ll go to the pub and watch the match.”
The Italian contingent are among about thirty European nurses to have been drafted into East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in recent months, as bosses aimed to address the staff shortages that were highlighted by inspectors last year.
Luca Albore, 26, from Bari, said: “We have Pirlo and Verratti and I think we’ll win 2-1. But if Italy get knocked out I’ll be supporting England.”
Of course, thousands of our hospital workers will be praying that England can pull off a shock win in the heat of Manaus, including junior doctors Christina Kaewchalvay, from Burnley, and Jonathan Ashworth, from Rawtenstall, who showed their colours alongside the new nurses.
Christina said: “I’m going to Blackpool with a few friends to watch it and I’m pretty nervous, but I think it’ll be a 1-1 draw.”