Club World Cup: Ex-Guernsey FC striker Ross Allen is three games from final

Ross Allen
Ross Allen scored on his debut for Team Wellington - a feat he also managed for Guernsey FC, when he got a hat-trick in his first game

Just over a year ago Ross Allen was being substituted for Guernsey FC against Shoreham in the eighth tier of English football.

Fast forward to Wednesday and the 31-year-old is three wins away from a possible meeting with Real Madrid, and four victories from being part of the 'best' team on the planet.

So how has a non-league forward ended up playing in the Fifa Club World Cup alongside some of the game's greats?

From the Channel Islands to North Island

Ross Allen
Ross Allen scored 54 goals in Guernsey FC's first season in Isthmian League Division One South in 2013-14

On an island where Matt Le Tissier is lauded as the football king, Allen is its crown prince.

A powerful, tall forward with undoubted ability, he scored 239 goals in 226 games for Guernsey FC from the club's foundation in 2011 until he left last year.

He was part of the Guernsey side that represented England in the Uefa Regions' Cup in 2011 and won an Island Games gold medal in 2015.

But after a period travelling, Allen decided to move to the other side of the world 12 months ago and settle in Wellington in New Zealand.

He joined Team Wellington, who play in New Zealand's domestic top flight.

The club won the Oceania Football Confederation Champions League title in May - beating Fijian side Lautoka 10-3 on aggregate in the final, after a tense away-goals win over rivals Auckland City in the last four.

"It's something I never really imagined would ever happen at this stage of my career," Allen told BBC Radio Guernsey.

"Even going back a year, just travelling out to New Zealand I knew this was something that could possibly happen, but I just fell in with the right team.

"We've done really well to win the Champions League, and to have the opportunity to play in a competition against some of these teams is unbelievable."

Team Wellington's route to global glory

Team Wellington celebrate
Allen scored the opening goal in Team Wellington's OFC Champions League final first leg - and was mobbed by his team-mates

Had Allen still been with Guernsey FC he would have been preparing for a home game against Whitstable Town in the Isthmian League Division One South on Wednesday.

Instead, he and Team Wellington will play United Arab Emirates champions Al Ain in an opening play-off game in Abu Dhabi.

They may be big outsiders, but a Team Wellington win in that first game would see them take on Tunisia's African club champions Esperence.

The winners of that match will take on Copa Libertadores winners River Plate in a semi-final, with the winners likely to face Real Madrid, given the Spanish giants face either Japan's Kashima Antlers or Mexican side Guadalajara in the other semi-final.

"It's going to be a really hard ask to just win that one game, but I think we've got a chance," said Allen from Wellington's training camp in the UAE.

"They've got home advantage, but we've got a really strong group, very competitive in training and some really good players.

"If we can get past that first game we're a team that's very good when we're playing well and winning games - momentum and confidence can really carry us through.

"If we're fortunate enough to get into the semi-finals and in and amongst those big teams then it'll really be a dream come true."

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