Ellen Maggs, the 19 year-old diminutive Arsenal striker, is probably the most na
Ellen Maggs, the 19 year-old diminutive Arsenal striker, is probably the most naturally gifted player of her age in England. She burst onto the scene in this season's Community Shield when her two superb goals earned the Gunners a 2-2 draw against Fulham.
They went on to lose on penalties, but Maggs had made her mark. Arsenal had been rocked by Marieanne Spacey's departure to the Cottagers just weeks earlier but the performance of Maggs that night signalled that the Gunners had a ready-made replacement.
The striker began playing football for Arsenal at nine and she has been with the club ever since. And it was the Gunners boss Vic Akers who first spotted her talent at a girls after school soccer course. And amazingly, as soon as Akers saw her he said to her Dad that she would play for England and that will undoubtedly be the case in the future. Maggs enjoyed a tremendous time for the Under-19s in the recent World Championships in Canada and has set her sights on a place in the Senior set up. The exciting striker caught up with Ben Rice to talk about Vic Akers, her aims for the future and Arsenal's chances of retaining the National Division title this season.
TheFA.com How big an influence has Vic Akers, your manager at Arsenal, been on your development?
EM Yeah, he's brought me all the way through, through all the youth teams. He's always kept an eye on me and looked after me and he did not bring me in too quickly and I am just getting my chance now at 19. At the moment you see a lot of young girls playing but he didn't do that with me.
TheFA.com How were the Under-19 World Championships in Canada with England in August?
EM It was great, the best thing in my career so far. When we played Canada in front of 25,000 people, to be honest we didn't really notice the crowd but when Canada scored you certainly heard them. It was disappointing to lose 6-2 to them, we thought we played better than that and I've seen the video afterwards and in the second half I think we deserved more. I scored a couple of goals out there.
TheFA.com You are now too old for the Under-19s now, have you started thinking about the Senior squad?
EM Hope [Powell, the England manager] spoke to me after the Under-19s and she said that that has got to be my aim, to get into the Senior side. She said I need to work hard on my strength and have a good season with Arsenal and see what happens. I've started every game for Arsenal this season and I'm not doing too badly. If I can play well with Arsenal and England comes with it then that is a bonus.
TheFA.com Have you been happy with your form so far this season?
EM I started off well but in the last couple of games as a team we haven't performed as well as we did at the beginning but I mean we are still scoring and apart from the Birmingham defeat [the Gunners lost 1-0] we have done alright. It was very disappointing.
TheFA.com You burst onto the scene after this seasons Community Shield, the 2-2 draw with Fulham, where you scored two superb goals. How did you feel after that game?
EM I knew straight after that game that the next day I was meeting up to go to Canada and so by the time I got to the hotel everybody was saying well done. But then the next day it was forgotten because we were going to the World Championships.
TheFA.com What are you doing at the moment and would you like to go to the FA National Player Development Centre at Loughborough University in the future?
EM I was at the Arsenal Academy but I am not doing anything at the moment. I coach on a Thursday and Saturday morning. I think I will look to go to Loughborough next year but I train everyday any way. With Arsenal we train Monday's, Tuesday's and Thursday's and I train with the academy on Wednesday's and Friday's and I go in the gym twice a week with Jayne Ludlow.
TheFA.com And with Fulham now in the top division, are you confident of retaining your National Division title with Arsenal this season?
EM We dropped a silly three points against Birmingham but Fulham have dropped four now [two draws with Charlton Athletic]. I mean Charlton are going well but they've been beat by Doncaster as well so it is all open still. I think we have still got a chance if we can beat Fulham and if we can beat Charlton and Donnie then we will be in with a real chance.
TheFA.com You must be looking forward to the first league meeting with Fulham next week?
EM It keeps getting cancelled due to international commitments but it is definitely on the 7th November so lets see if we can get a big crowd down there and see if we can beat them. We gave them a good game in the Community Shield.
TheFA.com How tough was the qualifying week of the Uefa Cup where you had to play three games in six days?
EM It was a long week, it was hard. A couple of the girls had to go to work during the week and didn't come back for the games. But we did well in the first game and I think that started us off well because we thought the first game would be our toughest game. We have a Russian side to play this week in the first away leg of the quarter finals and we need to go out there and get a result, a draw or a win, to come back to St Albans with but it will be really tough. Vic will be speaking to Oleg Luzhny to get some tips on speaking Russian.
Ellen's Arsenal side will be taking on Fulham in the top of the table battle at St Alban's next Sunday, 7th November.