Records say Steven Gerrard scored over 200 goals for England and Liverpool – but in Alex Greenwood’s mind it is many more.
She grew up playing on the streets of Bootle, first to be picked while playing among the boys, back then a fearless and feared striker.
“I’d be Steven Gerrard. Every single day,” said the Notts County and England defender at this week’s Together for England Roadshow at the University of Derby.
“Sometimes Jamie Carragher, sometimes Fara Williams or Kelly Smith, but Gerrard was the main one.”
Arsenal v Notts County
FA WSL Continental Tyres Cup Final
AESSEAL New York Stadium
3pm Sunday 1 November 2015
Adults £5, concessions £2.50
Buy tickets here
Live on BT Sport 2
Football might be in the 22-year-old’s genes – her uncle Steven Greenwood played for Blackburn Rovers and her cousin Tony Evans turned out for Everton – but she found her own way into the game.
“I’ve only got an older sister but everything for her was about her nails and her hair. I was just a confident kid and had no fear about who I played.
“I played every day before and after school and I was the only girl.”
She added: “I just always wanted to play football and always had a ball at my feet or in my hands.
“I always knew I was going to play football, whether it was as a professional or a hobby or whatever. I just knew.”
If Greenwood’s competitive streak is born of the streets of Bootle, then she credits Everton’s centre of excellence for refining her game.
“Fara Wiliams used to come and coach me when I was in the Under-12s. I turned up and used to think of myself as a striker,” she said.
“She had to convince me that I was a left-back. We used to argue about it every single session but she was adamant. Thank god I listened to her because I don’t think I would be where I am now.
“She kept my feet on the ground and always made sure I worked hard. She is the main reason I’m playing for England – she’s my team-mate now but still my idol.”
Greenwood’s long association with Everton ended at the start of the year, when she moved to join a growing England contingent at Notts County.
“People think I left Everton because the team was relegated but it was actually because I felt that at Notts I would have a better chance to go to the World Cup and [Everton boss] Andy Spence was amazing for me. He was supportive of me moving on.”
Greenwood’s World Cup gamble paid off, and she was selected as the youngest member of Mark Sampson’s squad to travel to Canada.
“To come away with a bronze medal has been amazing, not just in what we achieved but also in the way we have been able to inspire another generation,” she said.
“Deep down we knew we were going to do well. When we played Canada I have never been so confident about winning a game.
“There were 50,000 Canadians at the stadium but I knew we were going to knock out the host nation.
“That was when, as a camp, we genuinely thought we were strong enough, mentally and physically, to go on and win the World Cup.”
The Lionesses fell one step short of the final, but a third-place finish and a 1-0 win over Germany marked them out as a major force in the women’s game.
“We arrived back at the airport and straight away life changed. You’re more a priority for people but people also expect a lot more. You’re more a part of things.”
Greenwood had another taste of the big stage in August when Notts County took on Chelsea in the first Women’s FA Cup Final to be played at the new Wembley Stadium.
“We didn’t really turn up on the day, but the whole thing has been great experience for our players,” she said.
“We’ve carried on and reached the Continental Cup final so it has been great. I wish every season could be like this!”
Sunday’s FA WSL Continental Tyres final against Arsenal at Rotherham offers Greenwood and her team-mates another chance to pay back the support of Notts County’s remarkable group of fans.
The East Midlands club may not have the global brand of some FA WSL outfits – Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea to name a few – but their crowds are reflective of a hotspot for women’s football.
“We are very lucky that we have a group of fans that have been able to connect with us very well.
“They support us home and away and we have seen a massive increase in fans since the World Cup – not just the ones that come once or twice but the actual season-ticket holders.
“We have a great group of girls at County who love to interact with the fans. We always like to involve them in everything we do.”
Greenwood reckons the Notts men’s team should be looking over their shoulder.
“We always have banter with the lads and say we are taking over! We say we are more successful than them and we’re not shy about rubbing that in their faces a bit,” she said.
“But to be fair they give us magnificent support and all come to our home games. We’re a whole club and whatever happens with the men and the women we are supportive of each other.”
Greenwood credits the input of boss Rick Passmoor as a major influence on the team’s passionate approach.
She said: “We’re a team that never gives up. Rick has instilled that into any player wearing a County shirt. Whether you are losing 5-0 or winning 5-0 you give everything up until the 90th minute.
“We reflect that in what we do and that’s why we are in the Continental Cup Final. It’s the end of the season and there are lots of players already on the beach but we want to win some silverware.”