Beth’s ready to face best in Eng­land

The Football League Paper - - WOMEN'S FOOTBALL WEEKLY - By Paddy von Behr

PRO­LIFIC pair Beth Mead and Fran Kirby are shin­ing ex­am­ples of how to make the leap to the top tier of the WSL suc­cess­fully.

And while her Don­caster Rovers Belles team-mate Court­ney Sweet­man-Kirk looks the like­li­est can­di­date to step up in style next sea­son, Beth Eng­land be­lieves that she should not be over­looked.

Mead has shone for newly-pro­moted Sun­der­land this sea­son and tops the WSL 1 goal-scor­ing charts, while Kirby’s dis­plays for Read­ing earned her a World Cup call-up and a move to Chelsea.

Ruth­less

And, af­ter the Belles se­cured pro­mo­tion last week­end, Sweet­man-Kirk and Eng­land – with 25 and 11 goals re­spec­tively be­fore last night’s match with Ox­ford – will be on the radar of ev­ery topflight de­fender in the coun­try.

“I wouldn’t say I’m an out-and­out striker like Beth or Court­ney,” said Eng­land. “I’m more like Fran, cre­at­ing in that No.10 role. I would like to think in a few years I will peak and show my true po­ten­tial as a player.

“Beth Mead has 12 goals this sea­son – more than any­one else in WSL 1. She is on fire and it’s a bit like, ‘What more do you ex­pect from her?’ in terms of an Eng­land call-up.

“And it doesn’t mat­ter if Court­ney is hav­ing a good or bad day, she will put the ball in the net. Some­thing has just clicked this year and she is ruth­less.

“It does give you a lot of con­fi­dence if you score and I am quite happy with the ones I have scored this year, but as a player you are al­ways try­ing to push your­self.

“My main aim this sea­son was to try and score more than last sea­son and I am four down go­ing into the week­end.”

Eng­land missed the chance to move closer to that tar­get against Lon­don Bees last week­end, when a Sweet­man-Kirk dou­ble se­cured the pro­mo­tion-clinch­ing three points in­stead.

But, de­spite limp­ing past the strug­gling Bees, Don­caster are go­ing up and now they can fo­cus on se­cur­ing the league ti­tle, which could end up com­ing down to goal dif­fer­ence.

Sec­ond-placed Read­ing, also as­sured of pro­mo­tion, are three points be­hind the Belles, but have played a game less and pos­sess a goal dif­fer­ence su­pe­rior by four.

“We made it a bit dif­fi­cult for our­selves against the Bees. We ex­pected prob­a­bly more goals, but once we knew we had got that pro­mo­tion spot it was a pretty good feel­ing,” added Eng­land.

In­sight

“You are not go­ing to im­prove as a team or a player if all you are do­ing is play­ing teams that you are usu­ally go­ing to beat. It was nice to see that the Bees didn’t give up and at one point I was a bit wor­ried, but if you want to im­prove, you have to play against big­ger clubs.

“When you look at how we played against the likes of Man City and Liver­pool in the cup this year. Es­pe­cially in the first half of those games, we com­peted well.

“It gives you an in­sight into what level you should be step­ping up to. It will just push you that lit­tle bit more.”

PIC­TURE: The FA

FINE FORM: Beth Eng­land can’t wait for Don­caster Rovers Belles to test them­selves in WSL 1

TOP-SCORER: Sweet­man-Kirk

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