As the England Women’s squad prepare to face Canada, we hear from England Women’s forward, Georgia Stanway, about her experience of St. George’s Park.
Georgia has successfully worked her way through the development team age groups into the seniors, so has spent a lot of time at the home of England's national football teams.
Q: When did you first visit St. George’s Park?
GS: It was quite a while ago now, but I think it was the under 15’s team. We had EDC’s [Elite development camps] that were split into north and south. I was a part of the north camps which luckily were based at St. George’s Park. I was probably 14 or 15 at the time so six years ago.
Q: What were your initial thoughts on St. George’s Park as a young player visiting the home of England football teams for the first time?
GS: I thought it was unbelievable. Obviously, you have everything right here, everything you possibly need to perform and be the best you can be. Even with the hotel, the food and the pitches being so close. The football centre really has everything you need as a professional athlete.
Q: Does it feel like the home of England football?
GS: Yes, definitely. As soon as you arrive you see the England badge, the fact it is called St. George’s Park, there is England branding everywhere you go, the pitches are named after players and as soon as you walk into the football centre you’ve got posters of all the players. It’s unbelievable. I remember the first time I visited there were football shirts on mannequins which covered the walls and there were hundreds of them. That has changed now but it is amazing to see the history of the players who have visited and players that have played for England.
Q: What do you think of the pitches at St. George’s Park?
GS: The pitches are unreal and that’s great for us as we like to play a lot with the ball on the floor. We like to play football on the ground, zip passes in and the pitches allow us to do that. We have unbelievable pitches at Manchester City and St. George’s Park is definitely on par with that. It will only help us improve as players if we play on quality pitches and hopefully, we can play on anything. We’re always going to experience worse conditions when we are playing in different countries and different conditions, but it is amazing to get that on home soil.
Q: In terms of facilities, is there anything that stands out at St. George’s Park?
GS: I think it is just that everything is so close together. The fact the hotel is so good and the football centre being so good. It’s amazing to have everything within the same complex and saves a coach journey if you would have to travel to a training pitch or gym. Even the little things like having to go for a scan, you can just walk down to the football centre in a matter of minutes. The fact that some of the pitches have their own dressing rooms, so you don’t even have to go back to the main changing room saves time. Everything is just so accessible and it’s the little things that make the difference.
Q: What is your favourite memory or experience at St. George’s Park?
GS: I’d definitely say making my under-15 debut. The first time I had ever represented my country in an England shirt. I remember playing on the Wembley replica pitch and I scored two goals. That will definitely stick with me for the rest of my life.