Casey Stoney: 'This isn’t a hobby to me; this is my life'

Wednesday 02 Apr 2014
Casey Stoney is ready to fight for her place

Casey Stoney is back in the England Women’s squad – and determined to fight for her place.

The 31-year-old captained her country to victory in three of their first four World Cup qualifiers last year, but an ankle injury ruled her out for two months – a period which coincided with Mark Sampson’s first five games as the new head coach.

However, the centre-back has been included in the 23-strong group for Saturday’s qualifier against Montenegro in Brighton and is ready to work hard to get back into the starting XI.


England v Montenegro

FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
Group 6 qualifier
12.55pm, Saturday 5 April
Amex Stadium, Brighton & Hove Albion
Live on BBC Two



Stoney said: "Playing for England is the highlight of a player’s career and I’m not here to make up the numbers.

"This isn’t a hobby to me; this is my life. It’s something I care about more than anything. I’m not just going to stand by while someone takes my shirt – they are going to have to work very hard to take it. I still feel I’ve got a lot to offer this team.

"I’d like to think that Mark will give me an opportunity to fight for my place. All I can do is keep my head down and train hard."

She continued: "If I have a setback I see it as a massive opportunity for a comeback. I’ve done it many times.

"At 15 I got rejected after my first trial and have gone on to earn 116 caps; I didn’t play a minute at Euro 2005 and I was already rolling my sleeves up before the tournament had finished.

"This is no different. I’m just a little bit older but a lot more experienced. I’m ready for a fight and my body feels great.

"But if I’m not playing I’ll still give whatever I’ve got to give out on the training pitch. And I’ve got experience to help the other players whether I’m in the starting XI or in the stand."

Stoney has had less than two days’ experience of England’s new backroom team, but having followed events from last month’s Cyprus Cup from home and after speaking to other squad members, she was left itching to get back into the fold.

She added: "All I heard was positive things from the other girls. They came back from Cyprus absolutely buzzing. I saw so many good tweets about what was going on that I was desperate to get back in it.

"Mark has obviously brought in some fresh ideas, he’s got to know the players as people and I think that’s really, really important.

"I feel like I’m 21 again. I feel re-energised and I loved training on Tuesday. I love to train at high tempo and that’s exactly what it was.

"I am absolutely buzzing to be here. The first session was great and it’s always brilliant to be around the girls.

"There’s a positive atmosphere and it’s fantastic to be a part of it again."

Tickets are still on sale, priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children and concessions. A family ticket is available at £10 (two adults, two children).

By Glenn Lavery at St. George's Park