CRAIG King was hoping to play for England this week – but instead the Oxford City goalkeeper has stepped forward for a new role.

The 23-year-old has been among those to answer the NHS’s call for volunteers in the last few days.

It came after City’s sporting director Justin Merritt put a message on the squad’s WhatsApp group telling them about the appeal.

The health service needed 250,000 helpers to ease the strain brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

King, whose family have close links with the NHS, jumped at the chance and is among more than half a million to offer their assistance.

He said: “I did my research and didn’t see why I shouldn’t do it.

“Anything anyone can do to help the NHS is a bonus. I was just happy I could be a helping hand.

“Coming from Hemel Hempstead, when the hospital closed down a lot of people in my family were involved on protest marches and things like that.

“My sister is also training to be a paramedic as well, but it’s something everyone should support really.”

City’s No 1 has offered to help be a driver, transporting essential supplies between pharmacies, doctor’s surgeries and hospitals.

The scale of the response means he is waiting to hear back on the details of his first shift.

King has time to help, with his day job as a greenkeeper at Chesham & Ley Hill on hold.

It was not how he imagined this week would pan out earlier this month.

The stopper was selected by England C, the side which represents the non-league game, after his excellent season with City.

They were due to face Wales in an International Challenge Match at Caernarfon Town last Tuesday, before it had to be scrapped.

“It’s just one of those things really,” King said.

“I was buzzing to be selected and then all of this came about.

“I’ve just got to use it as motivation once football comes back to get back in the squad.”

It comes as the club received good news on commercial director Mick Livesey.

He had been taken seriously ill during a trip to Germany with what has since been confirmed as Covid-19.

But after a spell on a ventilator in hospital in Northampton, Livesey is now improving.

City’s proximity to the John Radcliffe Hospital has also enabled them to help increase the amount of parking spaces available to NHS workers at Court Place Farm, where the sports facilities are shut.