'No second chances'
Glenn Lavery in Izmir
Wednesday, 25 November, 2009
With World Cup qualification the aim, Dani Buet knows a win in Turkey is a must
It is not often that English footballers can enjoy a week in the sun towards the end of November. However, as the England Women’s team prepare to take on Turkey on Thursday afternoon, their thoughts are firmly fixed on collecting three points, as opposed to acquiring a winter tan.
Hope Powell and her side have travelled to the warm surroundings of Izmir on the west coast of Turkey for their second World Cup qualifier and with Spain currently summiting Group 5 with four wins from four, England know a victory over the Turks would keep them nicely positioned in second place with maximum points and two games in hand.
Turkish First Division club, Bucaspor, allowed England use of their training complex over the last few days and Three Lions midfielder, Dani Buet, revealed the focused nature of the squad ahead of the game.
“The training ground was really nice and the training itself has been excellent,” she said. “Everyone is ready for the game and there’s a good competition for places amongst the girls, which is what you need really.
“It’s important that we get off to a good start against Turkey and build on that to hopefully get the three points,” Buet continued. “We want to top the group and qualify for the World Cup. There are no second chances, so we’ll be going all out for the win. Spain are looking like they’ll be our toughest opponents in the group so we have to at least match their results and in as many cases as possible, better their results.”
England opened their qualification campaign with an 8-0 defeat of Malta at Bloomfield Road last month but, despite the emphatic scoreline, Buet says all the players are aware that there is room for improvement and that is what they will be striving for in the New Buca Stadium.
“It was a good victory but we know we’ve still got things to work on as a team,” she admitted. “It was a good game to play in personally, because it was a different test. I had never played against Malta at any level, so it was interesting to see what they were like and how they played. We expect Turkey to be more difficult opponents and they could be quite physical, so we’ll have to be on our game, but we’re all ready for it.”
Against Malta, Buet made her first competitive start for the Senior team and is in line to earn just her fifth cap tomorrow. She was also a member of the squad that travelled to Finland for the European Championship in the summer, though she did not feature. So, what has Buet made of her time with England so far?
“I felt like I fitted in straight away,” she reflected. “All the girls were - and still are - really supportive and that helped me a lot because I was quite nervous the first time I came into the set-up.
“Being at the Euros was amazing though. I was never sure that I’d be picked but it was a great experience. Watching each game and seeing the difference in quality between the U19s and the Senior team, you realise how much of a massive leap it is.
“My first few caps came in friendly matches, but the Malta game had the pressure of a World Cup qualifier and there was even more of a need to win. I was happy with how I played. There were bits that I know I need to work on, but I’m still developing so hopefully, if I keep working hard, that’ll come.”
At Bloomfield Road, Buet lined up alongside fellow midfielders, Fara Williams and Jill Scott, who, between them have accrued 106 international caps. Fully aware that she is still progressing in her own game, the 21-year-old saluted the talent and experience that she hopes to learn from.
“There is so much experience in our midfield area, with Fara, Jill and even Kate [Chapman] and it’s great to be able to play alongside those players because they keep talking to you and encouraging you and it does help you a lot. Even watching them in training, sometimes I just think ‘wow’. They are all quality players and playing with them can only help me in the long run.
“This last year has been great for me. I never expected to get my first cap, let alone get picked for the Euros, but now I’ve just got to concentrate on the future. I’m still quite young and I need to keep progressing."
Hope Powell has been forced into three personnel changes ahead of the Turkey game, with Rachel Brown, Katie Chapman and Eniola Aluko being replaced by Carly Telford, Dunia Susi and Fern Whelan. Lindsay Johnson has been ruled out of the game with a torn calf muscle, while Jill Scott is unwell.
Turkey lost 5-0 to Spain in their only qualifier so far.