By Rob Preece
Close control: Donna traps the football under a foot as she gets ready to start playing games
With Euro 2012 less than a fortnight away, England's footballers are doing all they can to impress before the big kick-off.
And judging by this hilarious video, it seems a two-year-old elephant called Donna has many of the ball skills that England coach Roy Hodgson is looking for.
The playful Asian elephant, one of the star attractions at Whipsnade Zoo, entertained crowds of tourists as she pelted a giant football about her paddock.
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Heads up: Donna shows she is as impressive at heading as she is with the ball at her feet
Her impressive display of ball control included heading, passing between her feet and a nifty step-over.
She even managed a cheeky backheel before eventually falling into a heap on the floor at the final whistle.
Stefan Groeneveld, senior keeper at the zoo in Bedfordshire, said animals enjoyed taking part in ball exercises.
He said: 'The elephants love playing with their pilates balls and also a huge football which we have for them, especially two-year-old Donna.
'It's brilliant exercise for them, especially now the weather is nice and they're outside all the time.
Having a ball: Donna pulls off a skilful dragback during her amusing display at Whipsnade Zoo
Look what I can do: Donna backheels the ball, watched by her keeper Elizabeth Becker
Off the hoof: Donna breaks into a trot in the elephant paddock with the ball at her feet
'They can often be seen having a kick-about in the paddock on their own or with their keepers.
'Donna particularly loves playing football and is very skilful - she can do back-kicks and has a good aim.'
Donna is one of nine elephants who share a seven-acre are at the zoo, which includes a large grass paddock and two houses.
They also have three pools and mud wallows to play in.
Keep the ball: Donna uses her trunk to ensure she maintains control of her football
High five: Donna celebrates with keeper Darren Fellowes after another impressive routine
And relax... Donna takes a well-earned rest, but makes sure she gets to keep the matchball
Now watch the video...
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
It's Mara-Donna! Hilarious video shows two-year-old elephant wowing crowds with her football skills before Euro 2012
By Rob Preece