How old were you when you first started playing football and did you always want to be a goalkeeper?
I started playing with my brothers at about 11 and I played outfield until I was 14. Looking back I’m not sure what made me want to be a goalkeeper…..strikers get all the glory!
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?
There weren’t many opportunities for girls to play when I was younger. I wasn’t allowed to play for my primary school team because I was a girl! There wasn’t a very good youth set up either which meant I was playing open age football at just 14!
Where and when did you get your big break?
I went to an England U18 trial day when I was 16 and got selected from there. I was nominated to go by Fulham Centre of Excellence where I was in the U16s.
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?
I’ve never really had any major obstacles in my way which has been great, my friends and family have always been there to support me all the way.
Who was your biggest influence growing up?
Definitely my parents as they committed a lot of time to me and my football, and also to both of my brothers! It must have been hard work!
How do you prepare for a big game? Any tips on warm-ups?
I like to always prepare the same way, nothing too specific, just making sure I’ve had the right amount of rest and eaten and drunk properly leading up to the game. The warm up is always important to me as I know that if I have a good warm up then I’ll normally have a good game. I think it’s important that it’s high tempo as well as it gets you in the right mindset.
Are you superstitious or do you have any pre-game rituals?
I always have to have a drinks bottle in the left hand side of my goal!
What techniques do you employ to keep focused for the full 90 minutes?
Definitely communication, I make sure I’m constantly talking to my back line and sometimes to myself as well! Also red bull!
What goalkeeper gloves do you wear and how important is the right goalkeeper glove to you?
I wear Reusch gloves. It’s very important to feel comfortable in your gloves and Reusch are definitely my favourite.
What are the main features you look for in a goalkeeper glove?
I don’t like bright flashy gloves so they have to be predominantly white! Other than colour I think grip is very important and also their durability. I hate it when gloves start to crumble the first time you wear them!
Since you’ve started playing what is the most important bit of advice you’ve been given and by whom?
‘fake it until you make it’ Even if you’re nervous before a game, go out there exuding confidence and it will rub off on others as well and help you be more confident.
What’s been your biggest career highlight(s) so far?
Definitely making my England debut against Holland In a 1-0 win in 2004. Although playing in the FA Cup Final and Champions League come close!
Who is/has been your toughest opponent and do you prepare differently to face them? (Team and player)
Internationally it has to be Birgit Prinz for Germany, although she’s now retired she was an incredible striker who was very powerful, quick and most importantly clinical. I think you should always prepare the same no matter who you’re playing, you just need to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and know how you can exploit them.
Any advice you could give to young goalkeepers trying to break through?
To make sure they practice using their feet as well as handling as it’s such an important part of the game!
Away from the football pitch and training ground what do you enjoy doing?
I like shopping, going to music concerts and travelling although I don’t always get that much time for it.
What football club do you support?
What are your season’s objectives this year with Bristol and do you have any personal goals?
We had a good season last year and we need to make sure we push on this year. To finish in the top 4 is definitely a big target.
Personally I just want to concentrate on playing well week in week out and training hard!
What would you say are the main differences between your time at Chelsea and your time with Bristol?
Chelsea is a massive club and has a great training ground set up, but as a ladies team you are bottom of their priority list. We would train at 8 at night after the u10s boys. At Bristol, we are the priority, it may be a smaller club but we have our own stadium and get all the support we need when we need it which is great!
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?
It’s made the league a lot more competitive which is great. You know that every week you will have a tough game! I love playing in the Summer too as its much nicer than playing on wet muddy pitches like we used to!
Do you believe that Women’s football will ever be held on a par with the Men’s game from a supporters point of view?
Men’s football is a huge business and to compare it to women’s football isn’t really all that fair. We will never be where they are, at least not in my life time. But so long as we keep doing the right things and moving in the right direction then the game will continue to grow and improve.
Can you see Arsenal’s dominance of the women’s game being broken anytime soon?
I think it already has to a certain extent. They’ve been beaten twice already this season in cup competitions and every game is a lot more competitive. They are still an excellent team though and will be up there at the top fighting for first place come the end of the season.