/   avaz.gq   / English  

2019-10-23 12:23:48

Bethany England has thrown her support behind Phil Neville and thinks England’s Lionesses are inching ever closer to winning a major tournament.

The Chelsea forward is a rising star in the Women’s Super League, with her excellent form, which saw her net 22 times in all competitions last season, rewarding her with a maiden England call-up back in August.

The 25-year-old hasn’t looked back since, netting her first Lionesses goal in front of a sell-out crowd at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium at the start of the month as England slipped to a 2-1 defeat by Brazil.

Getty Images - Getty

England has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame, and she scored her first Lionesses goal earlier this month

It has been a monumental rise to the top for the forward, who has gone from working in a fish and chip shop to scoring on the international stage in just seven years, and she believes Neville is the right man to lead England to success on the pitch.

Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, England said: “I’ve got a good relationship with Phil. He just wants the best and he wants the best out of his team and he wants to get results just as much as the players do. We want to win games and want to be happy playing football and one of the biggest things he touches on is that he always wants us to enjoy the football we’re playing.

“I really like that because there are times in this environment where it can get difficult and if you’re not enjoying it, that’s when you’re not going to get the best out of your players. So, I think he’s really good at trying to make sure people are playing well but also with a smile on their face because without that, I don’t think you’d get the best out of the players.

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“I’ve dreamed about it [scoring my debut goal] since I was a kid. I don’t think a lot of people expected me to score that goal and I don’t think I even expected myself to score that goal!

“As soon as it hit the back of the net, it was a mixture of emotions. I went from thinking, ‘oh my god, I’ve just scored my first England goal’, to, ‘right, get the ball and get back on the half-way line to see if we can get an equalizer or late winner’.

“It was disappointing we lost the game, but it was also a monumental experience for me to score in front of such a big crowd. To have my family there to witness me score my first England goal was something I’ll never forget.”

Neville has come in for some criticism recently after failing to sort out England’s leaky defence and for overseeing a run of just one win in six games.

That run includes defeats to the United States and Sweden in the Women’s World Cup which took the gloss off what was otherwise a relatively successful tournament for the Lionesses, who finished in fourth place.

England, though, feels that recent performances have been better than results have suggested, with the Lionesses instead being punished for their profligacy in front of goal.

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“I think everyone is aware of all the critics in the media at the minute and the backlash from the World Cup, but it’s a long process,” she continued.

“England are one of the best teams in the world and you can’t take that away from us. Yes, we’ve had a few hiccups along the road and the last couple of results haven’t gone our way, but thankfully, we did get that win against Portugal and it’s a step in the right direction.

“Against Brazil, I think we should have won that game in the first half because of the way we dominated the ball and chances we had. It was just unfortunate that we weren’t ruthless enough in front of goal and didn’t put them away. I can’t sit here and say we’re not performing because when you watch the game, we are performing but we’re just not scoring.

“I do believe that the quality we’ve got in the team is more than capable enough of winning [a major tournament]. We’ve more than proved that we can compete at the highest level. I’ve got no doubt that, eventually, it will come.”


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