100 not out
Friday, 30 July, 2010
Centurion Rachel Yankey wants to add to her impressive tally.
by Glenn Lavery
To watch highlights of England's 3-0 victory over Turkey,
Rachel Yankey revealed her delight at becoming only the second England Women’s player to reach the 100 cap milestone and said she has no plans to hang up her international boots just yet.
The Arsenal winger was made captain for last night’s World Cup qualifier against Turkey and she scored the opening goal in England’s 3-0 win. With 119 caps, only Gillian Coulthard has played more games for the Three Lions and Yankey articulated her pride at joining the former Doncaster Belle on triple figures.
“It’s very special,” she said of her achievement. “It means a lot because there are some fantastic players that have retired and that are still playing and for me to be second to Gill is really good.
“I’ve had quite a good career and touch wood not as many injuries as [others] so hopefully I can keep playing and keep getting picked [for England] and as long as I’m still enjoying it I still want to be here.
“I’d love to [surpass Coulthard’s tally] but whether I do or not, I don’t know. Getting to this stage is a big enough honour but I just want to play as many games as I can and hopefully we can get to the World Cup. That’s another tournament on the big stage and rather than chasing Gill’s amount of caps I’d rather just concentrate on trying to get into the team. There are players, old and young, that are good enough to be playing that are sitting on the bench so I feel quite fortunate that, at this moment in time, I’m starting.”
Last night’s victory booked Hope Powell’s side a place in the World Cup play-offs and on her landmark night, not only did Yankey start, the 30-year-old was key to England’s ambitions. She scored the first, provided the corner for Jess Clarke to head England’s third - after Ellen White had put them into a 2-0 lead - and was named the Nationwide Player of the Match for her efforts.
“I don’t think I can really ask for much more to be honest,” said Yankey. “It was a nice of Faye [White] and Hope to let me walk out as captain but once you cross that line you just do your job.
“It was nice to get the goal because I felt like I wasn’t getting in the game [and] it was needed at that point. It was a good move. As I set it back to Alex [Scott] I thought she was going to shoot so I pulled off to follow in her shot but then she passed it to me so it’s probably better that I didn’t have time think.”
Although there is a realisation among the majority of this England squad that Germany 2011 could be there last chance to play in football’s most famous tournament, Yankey believes there is no greater motivation than the thought of representing England on the biggest stage, rather than the thought of one final World Cup dalliance.
“We don’t feel under any pressure,” she insisted. “We’ve been there, we’ve had a taste and we want to make sure we’re there again. We don’t want to be sitting at home watching the World Cup. We’re all pulling together to make sure we get there, then it’s about proving how good we are.
“That’s kind of part one done; we’re into the play-offs. Whoever we’re drawn against it’s going to be extremely difficult and every game from now on is like a Cup Final. Any slip-ups and there’s no way back. It is going to get more difficult but hopefully we can peak in the next few games.”