Arsenal's Euro blow has just made Lianne Sanderson more intent on European Championship success.
Arsenal striker Lianne Sanderson is aiming to make up for her UEFA Women’s Cup disappointment by helping England win the UEFA Under-19 Championship finals. Sanderson was part of the Gunners team that agonisingly went down 2-1 on aggregate to eventual winners Djurgården-Älvsjö in their two-leg UEFA Cup semi-final.
But now the 17 year-old striker reckons that she and her England colleagues are set for Euro glory at the U19 finals being staged in Hungary over the next fortnight.
"After the way we came through the final qualifying round against the odds," says Sanderson, "I really think we can win this tournament.
"In our last game of that qualifying group we had to beat Norway by two goals and against a quality side like that, it was a big ask.
"But we got two goals before half-time then held them out in the second half with a composed performance that I thought showed great character.
"The games we get at the Championship finals will probably be even tougher than that one and we’ll need to show the same character, but I’m sure we’ll do that."
Despite her tender years Sanderson is quite a seasoned campaigner, having made a goalscoring senior Arsenal debut at 14 and since become a first team regular.
She has collected winners medals in the FA Nationwide Women’s Premier League, the FA Women’s Cup and Premier League Cup.
But she nevertheless says that playing in the UEFA U19 Championship finals will be the highlight of her playing career to date.
England kick off their group schedule with a match against Scotland at Zalaegerszeg on Wednesday, 20 July, followed by meetings with Russia and France.
It’s a tough group, France having won the Championship two years ago and Russia reaching the quarter-finals of the last FIFA U19 World Cup.
But Sanderson is determined to not only come through the group but also go on to line up in the final of the eight-nation event on Sunday 31 July.
"It’s the ultimate for me to be playing in the Championship finals," she said, "and I’m aiming to make the most of the experience.
"Our coaches have got confidence in the girls, we’ve got confidence in each other and after working towards this tournament for almost a year, we want to win it."