Canada now behind her as Demi Stokes receives Euro nod

Monday 03 Apr 2017
Demi Stokes has been included in the England squad for Euro 2017

Demi Stokes breathed a huge sigh of relief when she discovered she was named in the England squad for the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 finals.

Having played in all but two of the Lionesses’ Euro qualifiers – the only two matches she has missed in the last 22 – the left-back’s fears appear unfounded.

But having missed out on selection for England’s World Cup squad in 2015, despite playing in four qualifiers, Stokes’ worries were somewhat justified.

Confirmation came on Friday morning.

Stokes said: “I was nervous and I was up early on Friday checking my e-mails. I was very, very relieved to see that I’d been selected.

“I never take my place for granted for club or country. You’ve just got to hope you’ve done enough.

“I played quite a lot before the World Cup and I didn’t make the squad that went to Canada, so there was no way I was going to take my place for granted this time.

“I wasn’t worried, as such. I felt like I was in a good place. I kept telling myself that I’d done all I could and now it was up to the coaches to pick me. Thankfully they did.

“And the girls have all said they are really chuffed for me which is nice to hear.”

Stokes was a mainstay throughout England’s Netherlands 2017 qualifying campaign.

She has operated as a left-back, left wing-back and even as a left-winger over the last two years, and so impressive have her displays been, that head coach Mark Sampson labelled her one of the best left-backs in the world.

Stokes is one of six players in the squad who helped England win the U19 Euros in Belarus in 2009 – and she hopes that experience will prove invaluable in the summer, when they will line-up against Scotland, Spain and Portugal in Group D.

She said: “We always speak about Belarus. I think we did so well in Belarus because everyone knew their role and we all pushed each other.

“The more you know where you fit into the team the better. Everyone is crucial to the squad. You’re all just one piece to the puzzle.

“There is a big core of us from 2009 so hopefully we can bring that experience with us to the Euros.”

Stokes believes England will be genuine title contenders in Netherlands.

Sampson’s side went unbeaten in qualifying, they recently defeated World Cup holders USA for the first time and they have climbed back to an all-time high of fourth in the FIFA rankings.

Stokes said: “We have earned the right to be among the favourites. We are not just competing anymore. We are competing and we are beating teams.

“We can go into the tournament confident and with our chests puffed out because we have beaten the likes of USA and Germany over the last couple of years.

The margin isn’t what it used to be.

“It’s a great opportunity for us, especially with the way the team is looking at the minute. We’re all excited.”

She added: “In any tournament or big game I think it’s important that you don’t get caught up too much in the occasion.

“It’s amazing to be a part of a tournament but you need to remember why you’ve been picked and what you’re there for.

“You can’t get too caught up and you need to just take it one game at a time.”

By FA Staff