January 4, 1945
What is regarded as an unofficial trial match for the England v Scotland game at Villa Park on February 3, takes place at Coventry on January 20, when an FA XI, oppose the Royal Air Force XI.
The FA team includes three who played so well in the recent FA XI v Army match at Bradford. They are Neil Franklin (Stoke and RAF), George Smith (Charlton Athletic and Army), and Len Shackleton, the young Bradford inside right, who has scored many goals his season.
A new goalkeeper in Gill Merrick, of Birmingham City, is called on. Bert Sproston (Manchester City) partners Harry Kinsell (West Bromwich Albion) at back, and Joe Mercer (Everton) is in the half-back line. As at Bradford Frank Broome (Aston Villa) will be on the wing to Shackleton with Tommy Lawton (Everton) at centre forward, and Maurice Edelston (Reading) and Eddie Burbanks (Sunderland) at left wing.
(Liverpool Daily Post: January 4, 1945)