Michael Mancienne's former Hounslow schoolmate has backed his old pal to bring some of the World Cup magic to Nottingham Forest.

James Simmonds grew up with Mancienne, and they played together for St Mark's School in Hounslow, for Middlesex, for England Schoolboys and eventually for Chelsea's Academy.

But while Feltham-born Mancienne broke through briefly to the Chelsea first team, before enjoying spells with QPR, Wolves and Hamburg in Germany, Simmonds drifted into non-league football with Hampton & Richmond Borough.

But Simmonds was delighted to have his old mucker back in the country when Championship side Forest this week signed Mancienne on a three year deal.

The other end of the game: James Simmonds in action for Hampton & Richmond Borough (in red)

He said: “I know Michael is happy to be back home, and I have no doubt he will be a big hit at Forest – and as I'm living in Brentford now I will be after him for tickets when they play the Bees. We've known each other since we were eight, and he is a stop player. I always knew he would do well.

“He's had a bit of a tough time in Germany being in and out of the side, and his mates have been there for him, but when he has been in the side he's been playing against World Cup winners in the Bundesliga, and I'm sure some of that will have rubbed off on him.

“Even Ashley Cole has said he was scared to make the move abroad before he went to Roma, but I'm sure will see more and more of it now, and although you don't get many going to Germany, being the World Cup holders, it will be an attractive place to go.”

Simmonds is still involved at Chelsea as a coach for their U12s, and was at Wycombe Wanderers last night to watch a young Blues side beat their hosts 5-0 in Matt Bloomfield's testimonial.

 

He added: “Lots of our young players played, and they were all involved in us scoring a goal, so it was a real positive for the Chelsea Academy.”

Simmonds, who played the second half of Hampton & Richmond's friendly draw with Brentford's development squad on Tuesday night, has committed himself to the club for next season.