Karen Carney scored six goals to help England reach the Euro 2017 finals – but she said the hard work starts now.
The Lionesses congregated at St. George’s Park on Sunday to begin their preparations for a match against France in Doncaster on Friday night.
It is their first get-together since they secured top spot in qualifying Group 7.
England v France
A Women's International
8pm, Friday 21 October 2016
Keepmoat Stadium, Doncaster
Tickets priced £7.50 adults, £3.50 concessions
And after facing Les Bleues, ranked third in the world, Mark Sampson’s side will fly to Madrid for another testing international, against Spain.
Carney said: “Everyone is excited to be here to play against two top teams. It should be quite a challenging week.
“Now that we’ve qualified for the Euros it’s about building momentum, and for us as individuals it’s about trying to stake a claim for your spot [in the squad for the Euros].
“You want to play against the top nations and you want to test yourself. That’s why you play football.
“France and Spain are two superb and very different [teams]. It’s going to be really challenging.”
Carney burst onto the international scene as a 17-year-old at Euro 2005 and is well versed in the rigours of tournament football.
The Chelsea star helped England finish runners-up at the Euros in Finland four years later, before winning bronze at last year’s World Cup in Canada.
She said: “Coming away and playing with the best players in the country is something that you always want to do.
“The only pressure is the pressure we put on ourselves. We’ve got a game on Friday and we’re going to try and win it and we’ll see where that takes us.
“We got the bronze medal last year but we think we can do better and we want to do better.”
After her goalscoring exploits for the Lionesses, Carney was named on a four-person shortlist for the Vauxhall England Women’s Player of the Year award alongside Steph Houghton, Jill Scott and Jordan Nobbs.
She added: “I’m enjoying my football and Chelsea have got a lot to do with that. They have really looked after me.
“Hopefully my form has helped England along the way. My job is to play football and do the best I can, and if I get compliments along the way then that’s a bonus.
“There are three other fantastic players who have been nominated but the main thing is that we qualified.”
England will discover their Euro opponents at the finals draw in Rotterdam on Tuesday 8 November.
Tickets for the France match are still available priced £7.50 for adults and £3.50 for children.
A family ticket (two adults and two children), priced £15, is also available.