Abbie McManus had a rather unconventional route to England stardom.
While she went to the La Manga Tournament with the U23s in 2016, the defender didn’t get the chance to cut her teeth in the younger development squads like many of her team-mates.
But a number of stand-out performances for Manchester City captured Phil Neville’s attention and he put McManus on the standby list for the 2018 SheBelieves Cup.
The Prestwich native got the nod when Steph Houghton was forced to withdraw through injury, and another injury – this time to Anita Asante – led to McManus making her England debut, a resounding 4-1 win over France.
She has collected 12 caps since and is now a part of a World Cup squad for the first time.
McManus is the longest-serving player at City, having joined the club in 2009, and she has been an integral part of their transformation into one of the best sides in the country.