Beth’s ready to face best in England
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.
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.
“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.”
FINE FORM: Beth England can’t wait for Doncaster Rovers Belles to test themselves in WSL 1