Alex Greenwood looks back on her England Women's debut

Sunday 23 Mar 2014
Alex Greenwood in action on her full debut against Finland
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Not many players experience a full debut like the one Alex Greenwood enjoyed earlier this month.

With a clean sheet, an assist and a sumptuous set piece delivery which led to another goal, the left-back played a key role in England’s 3-0 win over Finland in the Cyprus Cup.

She also came agonisingly close to capping her big day with what would have been a memorable goal, but the crossbar intervened to deny her angled 25-yard drive.

 

England v Montenegro

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

 

 

However, speaking ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Montenegro in Brighton on 5 April, the 20-year-old has refused to get carried away with her impressive international bow.

Greenwood said: "I was quietly happy with how I did in Cyprus but it's hard to say. I walked away with a clean sheet against Finland and that's what every defender wants.

"I'd love to stay in this squad now but I realise there's two or more players in every position. Cementing my place has to be on my mind every minute of every day and every opportunity I get, because everyone wants to be involved in the qualifiers, everyone wants to go to the World Cup.

"But there's a long way to go and a lot of work still to be done."

After breaking into the Everton first team, earning 30 caps at youth level and being named FA Young Player of the Year in 2012, it appeared only a matter of time before Greenwood would make the step up to the England senior squad - and she received her first call-up for January’s training camp in La Manga.

She explained: "When I received the e-mail to say I was in the squad I thought I was dreaming. I was in my car and I thought I'd better not drive anywhere because I didn't know where I would end up. I had to compose myself and take it all in. It was unreal.

"But now I feel like I've always been here because that's how welcome everyone makes you feel. The older players class us as 'the kids' and always ask us what cartoons we're going to be watching but that's just them helping us fit in. In training or in matches we're not treated as the kids, we're a team."

Alongside Demi Stokes and Lizzie Durack, Greenwood is one of three players handed a debut by Mark Sampson, while Gemma Davison, Lianne Sanderson and Carly Telford all returned to the fold under the new head coach.

And the young Toffee has been impressed with Sampson’s first three months in the job.

Greenwood added: "I think Mark has been brilliant - him, [assistant manager] Marieanne Spacey, [goalkeeping coach] Lee Kendall, the sports scientist, physio, everyone has. We all know when to be relaxed and when to turn it on. The balance is perfect.

"Mark is quick to offer you feedback, whether that be to tell you when you've done something well or pointing out what you might have done better.

"I think all the players have really enjoyed working with him so far and hopefully things will only continue to improve."

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

Squad in full

Goalkeepers
Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), Mary Earps (Birmingham City), Carly Telford (Notts County)
Defenders
Laura Bassett (Chelsea), Gemma Bonner (Liverpool), Sophie Bradley (Notts County), Lucy Bronze (Liverpool), Alex Greenwood (Everton), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Demi Stokes (University of South Florida), Casey Stoney (Arsenal)
Midfielders
Anita Asante (Malmo), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Jade Moore (Birmingham City), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Liverpool),
Forwards
Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), Natasha Dowie (Liverpool), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Lianne Sanderson (Boston Breakers), Kelly Smith (Arsenal), Ellen White (Notts County).

 

By Glenn Lavery