Powell pleased with progress
Friday, 30 July, 2010
Hope Powell delighted for Yankey as England reach World Cup play-offs.
To watch highlights of England's 3-0 victory over Turkey,
England Women’s Head Coach Hope Powell hailed ‘centurion’ Rachel Yankey as the Three Lions overcame Turkey 3-0 at Banks’s Stadium to book themselves a berth in the play-offs for the World Cup Finals.
Starting her 100th game for the national side, Yankey was given the captaincy by Powell and the Arsenal winger appeared invigorated by the honour. After grazing the bar with an early effort the 30-year-old then went one better as she gave England the lead on 22 minutes.
“It’s a fantastic achievement,” said Powell. “For her today; 100 caps, captain, goal, Player of the Match. Cannot be bad for the hundred.
“I spoke to [her] before[hand] and told her to enjoy it. But I actually think there’s more to come from Rachel, even though she’s got a hundred caps. Hopefully it will spur her on. She’s been around a long time, so for her it’s a great milestone, a great achievement.”
The crucial Qualifier saw Powell’s charges needing three points to guarantee top spot in Group 5 and they did not let her or the 5000-strong Walsall crowd down, producing a polished performance that could have yielded even more goals after Yankey’s opener.
“I think we got the job done. Sometimes it’s quite difficult to play against that sort of opposition, and that is no disrespect to Turkey, but we persevered and we created a lot of chances. Unfortunately for us, the ‘keeper had a blinder and made some fantastic saves but the most important thing was the three points and we are now at the play-offs with a game in hand so you’ve got to pretty pleased with that,” said the England coach.
Having beaten Turkey by the same margin in last year’s away leg, Powell was impressed by the way the Turks set themselves up, but even more so by the way her own side battled to get the required result.
“I thought [Turkey] did better [last night] than they did in Turkey. They’ve improved and they will improve because of the experiences they’ve had before.
“You do get frustrated when you create so many chances, you want to try something different. To be fair to them, they handled themselves relatively well. We had so many chances to score, they didn’t go in [so] they persevered with it.”
Despite next month’s final Qualifier against Austria now effectively becoming a dead rubber, Powell will still demand a high level of commitment and intensity as the competition for places within the squad hots up.
“The squad is very competitive now and we’ve probably not had it as competitive as this in all the years I’ve been in charge,” said Powell.
“We bring a bigger squad [in the build-up to games], we can only name 18 players. This week that selection has been really tough. We’ve just tried to balance it. The competition’s fierce, which can only be good.”