A big season ahead, but we’re ready!

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The FAWSL season is just around the corner and the anticipation in our squad is growing.
It’s been a busy month or two for me personally in the lead up to the big kick-off, with England camps, promotional appearances and pre-season friendlies all coming in quick succession.

Last month I was away with England in Cyprus, which was a great camp to be involved in.

The tournament was a good test for us to see where we’re at following the friendlies we had in La Manga. We had good opposition and I feel we progressed game by game.

With new management comes a fresh start and you can see the players are expressing themselves that bit more under Mark. He reinforces the fact this is a “new England’ and wants us to treat every country we come up against almost as if it’s the first time. Essentially, he wants us to treat it as if we’re undefeated if we haven’t played them under his leadership.

It was obviously an amazing moment for me to score my first England goal in the win over Finland in Cyprus. As soon as I knew the ball had hit the back of the net, it was the best feeling knowing I had scored for England.

Scoring against Finland - a special moment

Scoring against Finland – a special moment

We reached the final but lost out to France, but I think it was a really positive couple of weeks and good preparation leading into our World Cup Qualifier against Montenegro. They were a bit of an unknown to us being a young side internationally but we carried on our great form of scoring plenty of goals without conceding.

Away from the pitch, it’s been equally as busy – I can’t actually remember my last day off!

A few weeks ago I was down at BT Sport with Amanda Da Costa to film the credits and do some promotional bits for the new season. If I’m being honest it’s not something I would choose to do, I would much rather be out on the pitch, but it was a great day and I had a lot of fun.

I also spent some time at the Jaguar Academy. The final talent day was at the GSK Human Performance Lab and lead by Dame Kelly Holmes, but other great athletes both past and present, such as sprinter Adam Gemili, were also in attendance.

We got to take part in a number of exercises over the course of the day to work on elements such as strength, power and speed.
At the Jaguar Academy with the other young athletes.

At the Jaguar Academy with the other young athletes.

One of the areas at the lab was ‘The Rio Experience’, we got to run on a treadmill in conditions similar to what the England men’s team will be playing in when they’re in Brazil this summer. I don’t envy them, ten minutes of running and you could really feel how hard it was and the effects the heat can have on the body. It was a fantastic day and will probably be my last visit with the academy as the funding will be moved to other young athletes coming through – I’d love to go back though, given the chance and I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have been provided with through the programme.

One experience that I never thought I’d get being a footballer was riding around the Velodrome in Manchester.  As part of joint initiative by The FA and British Cycling, Fara Williams and I were joined by Team GB cyclists Jess Varnish and Victoria Williamson to launch ‘Kick Start your Ride’, a programme launched to encourage more women to cycle to matches.

I managed to have a go on Jess’ bike around the track, and while I didn’t go high up on the boards (maybe next time), it’s great to say I’ve cycled at such a well known arena.
At the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

At the National Cycling Centre in Manchester.

My focus now is firmly back with Liverpool and on our first game this weekend away to Sunderland in the FA Cup. We’re obviously hugely disappointed to have lost Lucy ‘Stan’ and Nicole Rolser with two long term injuries but if anything, this bad news has pulled everyone closer together.

We’ve worked hard to be champions, so we know everyone will want to beat us.

We’ll need to be at our best to retain our title, but I genuinely cannot wait to get going – we want to be tested and I think it’s going to be the most competitive season yet, one which I’m really looking forward to.

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