As the old saying goes; if you are good enough you are old enough.
Michelle Hinnigan may only be 23 but Andy Spence has entrusted her with the Everton captaincy – and with good reason. The midfielder has displayed leadership qualities throughout her fledgling career, and on Sunday the Toffees could become the third different team she guides to glory when they take on Arsenal in The FA Women's Cup Final.
In 2009, Hinnigan led England’s U19s to a first-ever European Championship crown in Belarus. And last year she donned the armband as Great Britain won gold in the World University Games in Russia.
Arsenal v Everton
The FA Women's Cup
4.30pm, Sunday 1 June 2014
stadium:mk, MK Dons FC
Live on BBC Two
And now the former England Under-23 skipper hopes to help Everton repeat their 2010 FA Women’s Cup Final win over Arsenal.
Hinnigan said: “To captain this team in an FA Cup Final will be one of the biggest moments of my career and I’m really looking forward to leading the girls out on the pitch.
“When Andy gave me the captaincy during pre-season in my head I knew I wanted to win some silverware with this team. We are in The Final, now we just need to play the football we know we can play and hopefully we can come away with The Cup.
“We have been treating every match like a Cup Final this season so we have prepared exactly the same way for this one. But we know this game is something different and now and again I get visions of myself lifting The Cup – I’m not jumping the gun, it’s something that every player thinks about from time to time if they are honest.”
She continued: “Because I came through the club’s Centre of Excellence it makes it that bit more special. This is a club that is geared towards bringing young players into the first team, so to have come through the youth system and now be captaining the side is an achievement I’m really, really proud of. Wearing the armband for this club is an honour. I know all the girls are fully behind me and that is all you can ask for as a captain.”
With impressive Cup wins over Liverpool and Notts County, Hinnigan cannot identify why Everton have failed to consistently reproduce these performances in The FA WSL, but she hopes they can keep their knockout form going for another 90 minutes.
She said: “The Sixth Round win over Liverpool was the real turnaround for us. It made everyone realise that Everton are up for it this season.
"We are disappointed with how we have started in the League but in terms of The Cup I think we’ve been brilliant. We put in our best display of the season against Liverpool and we were excellent in the first half against Notts County in the Semi-Final.
“Hopefully we’ve got another big performance in us because that’s what we will need to beat Arsenal.
“I’m confident we can do it.”
Tickets for the double-header are currently priced at £6 for adults and £3 for concessions while a family ticket is available at £15. Ticket prices will increase on the day of the game to £10 for adults and £5 for concessions and a family ticket will increase by £5.
Call 01908 622900 to purchase or buy online