England Women's Coach Hope Powell has told midfielder Katie Chapman th
England Women's Coach Hope Powell has told midfielder Katie Chapman that the 20 year old's pregnancy won't harm her long-term England prospects...First and foremost, Powell wanted to congratulate her number 8:
"Of course the news came as a bit of a shock, but I'm thrilled for her. She's a valuable member of the squad and there's no doubt that any team would miss a player of her quality."
"I spoke to her last week and I know that she is excited about having a baby, but she's excited about coming back and playing for Fulham and England too."
Chapman can look to players like Marianne Spacey and Mary Phillip for her inspiration. Spacey returned after two years' out of the game to care for her daughter Sophie and broke back in to the England team, playing in the 2001 European Championships. Mary Phillip, 25, is an England central defender and a mother of two young sons.
With her baby due in April of next year, Katie is even hoping to return in time to play in The FA Women's Cup Final for Fulham and the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup with England. She'll have a programme designed for her to keep her healthy and fit during her pregnancy:
"I'm hoping to be back playing by the end of April. Although I won't be playing competitive football over the coming months I will continue to take part in light training sessions."
Powell was also quick to point out that Chapman's pregnancy has opened the door for other players in the England frame:
"She'll be missed but there is now an opportunity for another player. I keep saying how important it is to have two players in every position and this shows exactly why."
"Every team has to cope with injuries but this is a unique challenge for coaches working in the women's game and I have to be prepared for it. It's not the first time this has happened and I'm sure it won't be the last, we just have to be prepared."
The Three Lions will take an important step towards qualification on Monday, when they play Iceland in the first leg of the semi-final qualification play-off.
For England to join the world's elite in China next year, they'll need to claim the one remaining place by beating, first Iceland, and then either France or Denmark in the play-off final.
TheFA.com will give you live coverage of Iceland v England, Monday September 16th, 6pm.