Kelly maintains focus
Thursday, 03 March, 2011
Kelly Smith concerned more with football than 100th cap.
After becoming only the third England Women’s player to earn 100 international caps, Kelly Smith, the consummate professional, revealed she was more concerned with beating Italy than she was with reaching that special milestone.
To mark the occasion, the 32-year-old was handed the captain’s armband by National Coach Hope Powell and Smith now joins Gillian Coulthard and current team-mate Rachel Yankey in triple figures.
“I’m delighted to reach a hundred caps and I’m proud of the achievement,” she said, “but I didn’t think about it too much before the game to be honest. A lot of the girls were saying ‘congratulations’ to me, so they were probably thinking about it more than I was.
“It was obviously nice to be made captain for the game, but the win was more important and now it’s [the 100th cap] out of the way hopefully we can just move on.”
There was a nice symmetry to Smith’s 100th cap because it was against Italy that she made her England debut in November 1995. And not only did she have the armband to help honour the achievement, but a goal, too.
When Jess Clarke was tripped inside the box by Elisabetta Tona, the Boston Breakers forward smashed home the subsequent 38th-minute penalty to seal England’s 2-0 victory in the opening match of The Cyprus Cup.
“I had no nerves about winning my 100th cap, but I was a bit nervous about taking the penalty after [missing] my last one against Switzerland,” admitted Smith.
“Because of that, I decided to lace the ball down the middle and thankfully it went in.”