How old were you when you first started playing football and did you always want to be a goalkeeper?
I was about 7 and I played outfield, on the wing left or right, captained my school team which was mixed, when I was about 12 I got scouted by a girls team, turned up in a big yellow GK top my mam had put me in because it was freezing, got asked if I played in goal said I’d have a go and never looked back!
What was the women’s football scene like when you first started playing and did you face any adversity growing up as a girl wanting to play football?
Back then I remember watching the FA cup Final but didn’t really know there were girls teams and always played with the boys, I was really lucky as the lads accepted me and my headmaster made me captain, he had faith in me and any other girls that wanted to play so I was really lucky!
Where and when did you get your big break?
My first girls team East Chester-le-street just a local side and my first season I picked up league player, managers player and players player as well as wining the u13s league so when I turned 14 I was put in the first team, my first game I got scouted by Sunderland and I would class that as my big break as from then everything started for me!
Did you face any obstacles along the way; ever think you weren’t going to make it to where you are now and if so how did you get past the obstacles?
Yeah my first England camp I wasn’t selected I had just turned 14 and I thought that was it… But the summer after I got the chance again on a regional camp and did enough to get my first u17 call up after just turning 15!
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
At the time my dad, he played Sunday league, I used to watch the likes of Schmeichel etc play!
How do you prepare for a big game?
Like any other, I don’t really have any superstitions and I’ve learned along the way that every game is still just 90mins with 22 players wanting to win, occasions may differ but when you step on that pitch you tend to forget everything else its only after I’ve thought wow wonder how that looked on TV or to 20,000 people.
What football club do you support?
Newcastle United being a Geordie girl!
Any tips on warm-ups?
I like to keep it the same every game however it’s different for club and country but I enjoy both warm-ups!
Are you superstitious or do you have any pre-game rituals?
Not really, although I like don’t like to warm up in my kit that’s it really, and captains armband always on the left arm!
What techniques do you employ to keep focused for the full 90 minutes?
Mainly talking I try and keep myself and my back four switched on for as much of the 90 as possible, communication is a key part for a GK and a team and talking to them keeps me focused and switched on!
What goalkeeper gloves do you wear and how important is the right goalkeeper glove to you?
I’ve been wearing PRO-GK for 5yrs now they’re a fantastic glove… I like my gloves to last and playing in English weather they need to be great in all weathers which they are! I haven’t faulted them in the 5yrs and they are extremely good value for money.
What are the main features you look for in a goalkeeper glove?
The latex and feel, so how comfortable they are and the durability of the latex, I don’t want the foam coming away or splitting after a couple of sessions. Another reason why I have stuck with PRO-GK!
Since you’ve started playing what is the most important bit of advice you’ve been given and by whom?
To enjoy it, it’s a short career so enjoy every minute of every game, through injury I’ve learnt that as well because at the end of the day I’m lucky enough to do something I love everyday!
What’s been your biggest career highlight(s) so far?
Wow there’s a few, my senior international debut, winning the league cup with Leeds, going to the world cup in 2007, being named POTM in the FA Cup Final, being captain for Chelsea!
Who is/has been your toughest opponent and do you prepare differently to face them? (Team and player)
In the league its probably Arsenal such a good side attacking wise and defensively I know the girls well so it’s like any other game however people tend to raise their game against them being the best and all that. Internationally would have to be the United States amazing players but a great experience to play against!
Any advice you could give to young goalkeepers trying to break through?
Just to stick with it, goalkeeping is not something everyone desires to do but its definitely one of the best jobs on the pitch… Very rarely the villain and usually the hero.. And most of all enjoy it, you’re doing something you love
Away from the football pitch and training ground what do you enjoy doing?
Usually shopping, it’s a bad habit but a girl can never have enough clothes, at the moment however I’m learning to play the guitar which is fun !!
How much of a difference has the Women’s Super League made to you as a player? What are the main differences since its formation?
For me it was a big change I had to leave my team in Leeds and move to London to play for Chelsea.. I love it here though, the league has become much more competitive and the coverage of the game is a lot better, things like Twitter and Facebook give fans a better encounter with the players too! It’s only in its 2nd year so hopefully there’s lots more to come! Having a smaller league means the teams have got a lot stronger so is really competitive which is probably the best thing about the league!
Do you believe that Women’s football will ever be held on a par with the Men’s game from a supporter’s point of view?
If I’m honest I don’t think so as politically I don’t think it would happen.. The interest is there it’s just making it commercially viable!! Last year games were on ESPN and we had more viewers than the Scottish Premier League’s Male Division so its proven people will watch, we will always be behind the men as it’s not full time and a lot of us work etc buts it’s still the beautiful game it
just has to be appreciated. Maybe one day in the future it will be…
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