Carney backs England’s ‘young pups’ to shine
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.