England is for keeps, says rising star Lizzie Durack

Sunday 29 Jun 2014
Lizzie Durack during last year's Under-19 Euros
Ever heard the one about the Australian-born Harvard University student representing England at a World Cup in Canada?

Probably not, but Lizzie Durack is about to change all that.

The 20-year-old goalkeeper may sound like a fair dinkum Aussie but says she has made her English mother very proud by representing the Lionesses at international level. 

And after making her senior debut against Finland in March, Durack has made a name for herself as one of the world’s rising stars in her position.

Durack is likely to be a key player when Mo Marley’s squad travel to the Under-20 World Cup in Canada, where South Korea, Mexico and Nigeria will be their opponents in Group C.

She told FIFA.com: "We have a philosophy of being very strong defensively and great ethics in that respect. But we're also a team that has a lot of firepower up front; Nikita Parris [the in-form Everton striker] is flying at the moment, and there's a lot of speed in the attack. 

“We definitely don't just sit back, and anyone who plays us in Canada will see that."

Australia did not qualify for Canada, although Durack never had to choose between the Three Lions and the Green and Gold. 

Her decision was made for her when, four years ago, she was told she “was not good enough”, and “would never play international football again” after representing Australia Under-17s.

Durack said: "I just didn't agree. And I thought, 'I'm not just going to accept that.' I always believed in myself, but I also had great support at my club team, who always showed great faith in me. 

Lizzie Durack lines up with England at last year

Lizzie Durack lines up with England at last year's Under-19 Euros


“So although this one coach with the national team was telling me I wasn't good enough, I also had plenty of other people reassuring me that I was.

"It was a combination of people telling me to keep going and me being stubborn, thinking: 'There's no way I'm giving up on this.' 

"I'd obviously grown up in Australia and had always pictured myself being a part of the set-up there. But you have to roll with the punches."

Durack had already won a place at the prestigious American university Harvard, where she studies  human development regenerative biology, when England came calling.

"My mum was born and raised in England, so I had it in the back of my mind that that might be an option," she said.

“My mum loves it too, having me play for her country”

Lizzie Durack 


"About a year passed before England got in touch, and the opportunity actually arose through Harvard. They were contacted to see if they had any English goalkeepers playing there, and they knew about my dual citizenship.

"For me, there was no hesitation in saying yes - it was an idea I'd really warmed to - and everyone connected with the team has made me feel so welcome.”

Durack shone for in last year’s Under-19s Euros in Wales, where England reached the final before being defeated in extra-time by France. 

She was rated in the top 10 players at the tournament, and just as importantly, was warmly welcomed into the England setup.

“The girls have become some of my best friends, and I think that closeness was a big factor in us doing so well at the Euro. None of us wanted to go home at the end.

"My mum loves it too, having me play for her country, although she's still based in Australia, so her and my dad haven't seen me play for England yet. Hopefully if all goes well, and I'm selected, they'll be able to do that in Canada at the U-20 World Cup."

By James Callow Content manager