England defender Casey Stoney is the latest player to join TheFA.com as a guest
England defender Casey Stoney is the latest player to join TheFA.com as a guest columnist and here the Charlton Athletic star kicks-off by revealing her busy start to 2003...Hello everyone!
It has been a busy start to 2003. Last month I went for a week's training camp in La Manga with the England Senior squad. It was nice to get away in the winter and have warm weather training. We played training games against two men's teams when we were out there, Farnborough Town and Gillingham.
The experience of playing against the mens sides was valuable for everyone, it was a much higher tempo. But technically I don't think there was a big difference between us and a few of the girls showed them up a couple of times. It was really good to play against them, a valuable experience.
It was great to see Kelly Smith back training with England, she is a key member of our squad and we have really missed her, especially during the World Cup play-offs. It was nice to see her back training and getting fit again.
It was also announced last week that England will meet the World Champions in America in May which will be fantastic. At the moment they are the best in the world so to play against them will be a big test. It will show us how far we've come and how far we have still got to go.
I'm just over halfway through my first season with Charlton Athletic after leaving Arsenal and it's been good. Obviously being coached by Keith Boanas and Kenny Bremner has been fantastic, they give me all the confidence I need and they believe in me.
This season has been up and down for us, we have got quite a young team but we must have had quite a decent season because we have now got five players in the England squad, whereas at the start of the season there was only two of us.
But we are now in the semi-finals of The FA Cup against my former club Arsenal, which is a massive match and I think we might be playing it at The Valley, which will be a great opportunity. We are hoping to get a result against Arsenal and make it to the final, but it will be hard work to get there.
I'm also really enjoying my first year at The FA's National Player Development Centre based at Loughborough University. It has been really good. I'm only halfway through it but I've already noticed a difference just training everyday. I have benefited technically from having a ball at my feet everyday. It has definitely improved my game.
If you have any questions for me, please e-mail them to: info@TheFA.com and I will answer them in my next column. See you soon!
Casey was speaking to Ben Rice.