Stephanie Houghton put her outstanding display in Exeter down to her time with the seniors.
England Women's U21s v France
Women's U21 International Friendly
Wednesday 22 November 2006
St James' Park, Exeter City FC
Player of the match Stephanie Houghton attributed her accomplished display against France to the time she spent with the senior side in Germany last month.
The Sunderland midfielder, who replaced the injured Katie Chapman in Hope Powell's side, stayed on the bench as Germany ran out 5-1 winners, but Houghton said the experience of being with the nation's best players was a huge benefit.
"I got so much confidence from being away with the senior team in Germany last month," she told TheFA.com.
"I was with players who I have looked up to for years and of course to be on the same pitch as them in the future would be a huge buzz.
"I'm still not sure of my best position myself but if I keep playing as well as I can, the first battle is to get selected for the U21s and if the opportunity then comes again to work with the seniors, I'll grab it with both hands."
Houghton thought England, leading until the final five minutes, were unfortunate not to leave Exeter with a victory.
"It was a physical and at times scrappy game and at the end we were disappointing not to get the win," she said.
Although Houghton was surprised to have been handed the player of the match award, Under-21s coach Brent Hills was full of praise for the versatile player.
"Steph has been in the England set-up from the U15s upwards and at 17 was playing centre forward," said Hills.
"She is a versatile player who takes both her game and her studies (at The FA Player Development Centre at Loughborough University) very seriously and if she continues to work hard and put in performances like she did against France, she will certainly be challenging for the senior side."
Hills said that a draw was probably a fair result.
"It was a really competitive game. We were definitely the better side in the first half but the French coach would have been disappointed if they hadn't got anything from the game."
The Head Coach added that the young Lions should go on and press for a place in the senior side, particularly with the World Cup on the horizon.
"The players are trying to make their mark at this level and if they are sensible, they'll use the experiences from tonight to progress through to the senior side," he said.