A first call-up to the England seniors has always felt like a question of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ with Lauren James.
Still just 19 years old, the Manchester United starlet is now playing her fourth year of senior football and will be seeing 2020 out by making her dream of representing England at senior level come true.
James has previously captained the U17s before making the step up to the U19s last year as she finished United’s debut Barclays FA WSL campaign with six goals in 12 games.
The teenager’s pace, movement and skill make her a nightmare for defenders and the latest ten-day training camp gives her the perfect opportunity to show Lionesses boss Phil Neville that she’s ready to use her ability at international level.
“This is the time for me to express myself and show people why I'm here,” said James.
“When Phil first called me, it didn’t really sink in properly because I was still in shock but this has always been the dream and something I’ve worked hard for.
“I always think I’m at my best when I’m enjoying myself - I think that is when you get the most out of yourself."
James was joined by some familiar faces in the form of United teammates Ella Toone, Lucy Staniforth, Millie Turner and Katie Zelem when the players arrived at St. George’s Park on Sunday.
And the newcomer, for whom the sky appears to be the limit, has taken the opportunity to get to know her new England squad mates while out on the training field with them particularly by watching some of the more experienced figures in the group.
“I’m around some great players but I think I’m settling in well so far and I’m enjoying myself,” she added.
“I’ve spoken to Lucy [Bronze] a bit more now, after I’ve come and I think when anyone new arrives they are always a bit quieter. But we’ve got to know each other a bit more now and she's made me feel really comfortable.
“I’d never really seen much of Rachel Daly but she has really stood out to me too.
"We were on the same team in training and I was really impressed with her technical ability and game understanding.”
James herself knows all about technical ability, coming from the same football family as her brother, Chelsea full-back and England men's international Reece James.
Coached by their father Nigel, the pair will become the first brother and sister duo to represent England if Lauren goes on to make her full senior debut next year.
But the history books will have to wait for the time being and James is rightly focused on making the right impression in the Lionesses’ two upcoming in-house training matches and turning yet another 'if' into a 'when'.
“It’s great for myself and Reece and the family that we are succeeding," she admits.
"We're both on different paths because he’s doing his things and I’m doing mine, but it’s great to share the same journey.
“We're both really proud and we know that what we are doing at the moment is pretty rare.
“My dad is very proud of us both too and I think it makes him feel like all of the work he has put in is paying off.
“My plan now is to keep playing well for my club, keep my head down and hopefully more international call ups will come with it.”