Karen Carney and Eniola Aluko are re-training their sights barely a month after Women’s Euro 2005.
England starlets Karen Carney and Eniola Aluko are re-training their sights on international glory barely a month after their Women’s Euro 2005 exploits.
As the team prepare for the UEFA Under-19 European Championship finals in Hungary, Carney, who shot to national prominence with her last minute winning goal in England’s opening Euro 2005 match against Finland, was pleased to be back wearing the Three Lions.
“We’ve only had a week off,” said the 17-year-old Birmingham City winger, “but I’m not complaining – it’s worth it to play in two Euro tournaments and to be honest, this was the one I was aiming for at the start of the season.
“The seniors came along for me so quickly, but the Under-19’s are the girls I’ve played with since I was 14 and I just want to do my best for them.
Both Carney and 18-year-old Charlton Athletic striker Aluko are now established in senior football, but each of them is intent on making an effective mark at U19 level to help England clinch a place at next year’s FIFA U19 World Cup finals.
Reaching the semi-finals of the Euro event, in which they face Scotland, Russia and France in their group matches, would guarantee England a World Cup place.
And that - despite being set to play in front of crowds that will bear no comparison to the huge attendances at England’s Euro 2005 matches – is incentive enough for Carney and Aluko.
“After experiencing those sort of crowds,” said Aluko, “you want that to happen every week because it’s such a good feeling. But no matter what the scale of the game and, whether there are two people there or 20,000, as long as we win I’ll be happy.
“This is another high pressure tournament so I need to get my mind back into focus, because this is about getting into the World Cup and hopefully winning this tournament.”
Aluko is the only member of the 18-strong squad who has previously played at a U19 European Championship finals tournament, helping England reach the 2003 semi-finals.
Carney, though, played in the first round U19 qualifying tournament andneeded no introduction to squad colleagues who in April successfully negotiated the final qualifying round.
“It’s a bit weird being back with the 19s,” added Carney, “but I started off with them in the first phase back in September and it’s a great achievement to be selected for this tournament and to be with the girls who helped us get here.”
”They’ve worked their socks off to get to this tournament and now I need to work my socks off to help get us to the final.”