Unitt's pride at joining club 100
Sunday, 01 April, 2012
On Saturday, Rachel Unitt became sixth player to earn 100 England caps.
By Glenn Lavery
Rachel Unitt spoke of her pride at becoming just the sixth England Women’s player in history to earn 100 international caps.
The left-back reached the historic milestone in Saturday’s crushing Euro 2013 qualifying victory over Croatia. Unitt was made captain for the game by National Coach Hope Powell and further marked her special day by netting one of England’s six goals.
“It’s a very proud moment for me and to get on the scoresheet makes it that little bit more special,” she said after the game. “I had a funny feeling I was going to score, I don’t know why.
“I’m honoured to be up there [on 100 caps] with the likes of Kelly [Smith], Fara [Williams], Casey [Stoney], Rachel [Yankey] and Gillian Coulthard.
“When I made my debut against France at the Velodrome [in 2000] I never imagined that I’d reach this milestone,” continued Unitt. “To get one cap is a massive achievement but to get 100 is fantastic.
“There are only six players that have reached 100 caps for England so it’s a massive, massive achievement.
“It’s not been easy. It takes a lot of dedication, hard work and sacrifice but it’s all worth it in the end.”
As her caps tally suggests, Unitt has been a regular fixture in the England squad since making her bow 12 years ago and she has made the No3 shirt her own in recent seasons. The 29-year-old has been to two European Championships and two World Cups and has lifted The FA Women’s Cup with both Fulham and Everton, but she cites a friendly against Czech Republic in May 2005 as her career highlight so far.
“The memory that stands out most for me is playing against Czech Republic at Walsall and scoring two goals. Obviously, coming from Walsall I was playing in my own town and it was a special game and a special moment for me.
“Having Euro 2005 on home soil and playing in the last World Cup in Germany also stand out, but scoring in my home town was extra special.”
In a strange quirk of fate, Unitt managed to get on the scoresheet on the day of her 100th cap, just as Smith, Yankey and Williams did on their big day. With England 2-0 up in Vrbovec, Unitt sauntered forward into the box almost unnoticed and met Karen Carney’s far post cross with a perfectly placed diving header.
The Three Lions were dominant throughout and registered another three goals before the end of the game, keeping them in touch with Holland at the top of Euro qualifying Group 6.
“[Croatia are] a decent side,” said Unitt in summary, “but we played well in patches and played some good football.
“The staff did their homework and we worked on the way to play against Croatia. We broke them down and created some good chances.
“It was 6-0 but it could have been 12. I think we need to be a little more clinical, but three points is massive for us to keep us in contention with Holland.”