Car­ney backs Eng­land’s ‘young pups’ to shine

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Fiona To­mas Record-maker: Karen Car­ney will ap­pear in her fourth World Cup this sum­mer

Karen Car­ney has backed Eng­land’s au­da­cious “young pups” to star at the Women’s World Cup.

At 31, Car­ney is one of the older play­ers in Phil Neville’s squad for the tour­na­ment in France which starts on June 7 and is pre­par­ing for her fourth World Cup, equalling Sir Bobby Charl­ton.

With 139 caps to her name, the Chelsea mid­fielder is also one of three Li­onesses who have made more than a cen­tury of ap­pear­ances, along with cap­tain Steph Houghton and Jill Scott.

But it is the Li­onesses’ younger blood who Car­ney be­lieves will help Phil Neville’s squad fire in the tour­na­ment.

“The young pups are not afraid,” she said. “They’ve got this aura where they just go and play, go and ex­press them­selves.

“They don’t fear any­thing. Then we’ve got the older, ex­pe­ri­enced heads who can rein it back, say when we need to say. It’s a re­ally good mix. We’ve got no fear. They’ve got no bar­ri­ers. They just go out there and do it.”

Rather than be­ing pushed to­wards the pe­riph­ery of this Eng­land squad, Car­ney’s ex­pe­ri­ence has cat­a­pulted her to­wards its nu­cleus.

The Birm­ing­ham-born mid­fielder came on as a sub­sti­tute at a cru­cial mo­ment in Eng­land’s 2-0 vic­tory over Den­mark on Satur­day and was a much-needed vo­cal pres­ence dur­ing and af­ter her side’s lack­lus­tre per­for­mance in their penul­ti­mate pre-world Cup friendly.

“To be fair, ev­ery­one has been in youth age groups and got used to big oc­ca­sions,” Car­ney said. “Just look at Ge­or­gia Stan­way, who was the FA Cup fi­nal star, play­ing in front of thou­sands of peo­ple at Wem­b­ley, so I guess we’re pretty much well re­hearsed.

“Even if they’ve not been to a ma­jor tour­na­ment, they have been to youth tour­na­ments or played ma­jor games do­mes­ti­cally.”

With age comes re­spon­si­bil­ity, how­ever, and Car­ney is cer­tainly bow­ing to that adage. In an ef­fort to keep on top of her game, she has em­braced a ve­gan diet, which she says has paid div­i­dends.

“I’ve been ve­gan for over a year now, about 15 months. I changed to the ve­gan diet and I feel fab­u­lous, it’s great. I wish I’d done it ear­lier,” Car­ney said.

“I feel more en­er­gised, health­ier and hap­pier.”

Eng­land face New Zealand in their fi­nal warm-up fix­ture ahead of the World Cup, on Satur­day at Brighton’s Amex Sta­dium.

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