Carney refreshed and ready for England action again

Tuesday 01 Mar 2016
Karen Carney's last England match was at Canada 2015
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Karen Carney is feeling fit, fresh and ready to pull on the England shirt again for the first time since last summer’s World Cup.

Chelsea’s new signing helped the Lionesses win bronze at Canada 2015, scoring crucial goals against Mexico and Colombia in the group stage.

But the 28-year-old had played through the pain barrier, having suffered from a back complaint for most of the year.

USA v England

The SheBelieves Cup
12.45am GMT, Friday 4 March
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Live on BBC One

So, in agreement with her club and England medical teams, Carney sat out the next four internationals – a friendly tournament in China and two Euro 2017 qualifiers, against Estonia and Bosnia.

Carney was called back into the squad for the SheBelieves Cup in America and she said it has given her a renewed sense of vigour.

She explained: "It was never that serious thankfully. I just needed to let my body rest for a bit. So I took a few weeks off to re-energise.

"I had a rehab programme for eight weeks which took me into pre-season and, touch wood, things have been working well.

"It was probably important for me to get a rest but you obviously do miss out on the chance to play for your country. And then when you do come back into the squad you’re almost starting from scratch again because other people have been getting their chance and doing well.

"But that is always going to be the case in such a competitive squad.

"I was genuinely really excited to be going away again with England."

Carney has earned 110 caps since making her debut against Italy way back in 2005.

She has been to three World Cups and three European Championships with England and the London Olympics with Team GB.

And the attacker reckons Mark Sampson’s side will continue to improve by taking on the top three teams in the world.

England open their SheBelieves Cup campaign against USA in Tampa on Friday 4 March (12.45am GMT) followed by Germany in Nashville on Sunday 6 March (10.45pm GMT) and finally France in Boca Raton on Wednesday 9 March (10pm GMT).

Americans lined the streets to welcome home World Cup winners USA

USA won the FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada

Carney added: "USA, Germany and France are the big games you want to be involved in, especially over here because ‘soccer’ is so big.

"It’s good for us to keep on playing the best teams because we will become familiar with the standard that is required to beat them regularly.

"I don’t think what happened to us at the World Cup was a fluke because to get to that stage we had to be consistent and beat big teams along the way with different styles.

"This is another new challenge for us. If we get to the Euro Finals in 2017 we will probably be one of the favourites to win it, so we have got to get used to playing in big games and playing under that level of pressure."

She continued: "I’m delighted to have been picked again. I feel good again, I’ve felt good in every training session and I’m really enjoying my football with Chelsea.

"I’ve got a new club, there’s a new year with England to look forward and I just want to be happy, healthy and fit."

England’s next home match will be their UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 qualifier against Belgium on Friday 8 April (7.55pm KO).

Tickets for the game, which will take place at Rotherham United’s AESSEAL New York Stadium, are on sale now priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. A family ticket (two adults and two children) is available at £10 and group booking discounts apply.

Tickets can be bought via TheFA.com/Tickets, by calling 08444 140 754 or in person at the Rotherham United ticket office.

By Glenn Lavery in Tampa, Florida