It is not often that footballers from Epsom & Ewell will be hunted down for autographs and selfies with fans, but skipper Dan Dean and his cohorts experienced just that when they played in France.

The team were invited to play a friendly against French non-League US Chantilly – which they lost 5-2 - during the Euro 2016 Championship.

England used Chantilly as their base during the tournament, and the Salts met up with boss Roy Hodgson and coach Gary Neville for a chat and pictures – but the cameras were snapping away even more in a local bar that evening.

Dean said: “We are all good mates away from the pitch, and so the trip to Chantilly was something we were all looking forward to.

“Meeting Gary and Roy was a great reward for the hard season we’d all put in, but the trip was not just about football, it was also a chance for the lads to get away together.

“We all went out after the friendly to a bar where the locals seemed to think we were the England squad.

“They all wanted our autographs and photographs, and I think some of the lads took full advantage of it.”

He added: “US Chantilly were great hosts – they had finished their season two weeks before whereas we’d been done for a month so they were sharper.

“But it was still a great trip because we were not only representing our club, but also Epsom, and that is something special.”

The Salts’ pre-season kicked off last week with a 0-0 draw at Ryman Division South Whyteleafe, and they go to Croydon Athletic on Saturday.

And while Dean is keen to get the action in the Combined Counties League under-way, the draw at Whyteleafe is a sign to be encouraged.

“People will say pre-season is all about match fitness after the summer, and there is some truth in that,” he said.

“But if we achieve our goal of promotion, then we will be playing teams of the calibre of Whyteleafe, so it was good to test ourselves against them and we did not disgrace ourselves.”

He added: “We have to be realistic about our chances as we have lost a couple of players [including Bentley Graham].

“But having come so close last season means those that remain have that experience and who knows, it could prove vital in the long run.”

The Salts kick off the action in the Premier Division on August 2 at Bedfont Feltham, and host Gravesham Borough on August 6 in the extra preliminary round of the FA Cup.