Mark Sampson: England can inspire the next generation

Friday 15 May 2015
Lianne Sanderson poses with a young fan in Manchester

Mark Sampson wants his England Women’s team to inspire the next generation of female footballers.

The 32-year-old head coach will take his Lionesses to Canada for next month’s World Cup.

England qualified for the tournament with ten wins from ten, conceding just one goal in the process.

They are ranked sixth in the world – their highest ever position – and have made it to the last two World Cups, although they have never gone beyond the quarter final stage.

And Sampson wants his charges to produce performances in Canada that will have the same impact on youngsters as the London Olympics had in 2012. 

He said: "Look at the position we're in now: we've got professional players, professional coaches, all these aspects that are helping the game grow.

England Women line up ahead of the 2-1 win over China in Manchester

England line up ahead of their recent 2-1 win over China

"But look at the Olympic Games - nobody wanted to be a boxer until little Nicola Adams beat a few people up and got a gold medal.

"And nobody wanted to be a marathon runner until Paula Radcliffe started setting world records, so I think people need success stories and need people to represent their country and show that, yes, you can achieve something special.

"Our players know that responsibility and would love, love to be the ones who bring that to the game and be the ones that in 20 years' time people will be citing as the reason they started playing football.

"But you don't just do that by winning: you've also got to do that in a way in which you play the game and allow people to get behind you."

England begin their World Cup campaign against France, many people’s favourites for the tournament, in Moncton on Tuesday 9 June.

Then it’s Mexico in the same city on 13 June, followed by Colombia in Montreal on 17 June. 

Sampson added: "I'm really hoping the values that this team holds very strong will come across at the World Cup and that people can associate with that."

By Glenn Lavery at St. George's Park