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Find out the answers to this and more, as young football fans turn interviewer and grill some of the UK’s best female players
tart practising your Mexican waves – Boots is a partner of the women’s national teams of England, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales for the next three years! That’s incredible news for the sport itself, but it’s also a great confidence boost for the next generation of young superstars-in-the-making, who are quite possibly kicking a ball around their school playground as you read this, while imagining they’re scoring for their favourite team. Which is why we lined up female fans, aged 4 to 14, to ask leading players their most probing questions. Apart from tutus as a potential new team strip, our cub reporters also dig deep on everything from playing tips to celebrating goals. Here are the results…
Angharad James, 25
Position: Central Midfielder
Did you know? She made her international debut at 17. And until she was 11, she played rugby.
Claire Emslie, 25
Team: Scotland/Manchester City
Did you know? She studied exercise physiology at Florida Atlantic University.
Toni Duggan, 27
Team: England /Barcelona
Did you know? She’s the first English player to sign for Barcelona in over 30 years (since Gary Lineker!).
Marissa Callaghan, 33
Team: Northern Ireland/Cliftonville Ladies
Did you know? She’s team captain and a coach, as well as an ambassador for the Irish Football Association.
What’s your favourite way to celebrate when you win a match? Mine is to do cartwheels!
M: I wish I could do cartwheels! My favourite thing to do after a win is getting all the girls together into a huddle and celebrating that way.
A: My family travel quite far around the country to come to most of my games, so if we win, they treat me to a nice meal afterwards.
When I scored my first goal at football club, I was so excited. Do you still get excited?
T: Even when I score in training, I’m happy!
C: Yeah, definitely, especially the big games. I cried [with happiness] when I scored my first goals for Scotland and in the Champions League.
A: I don’t score many goals, so when I do it’s probably the happiest time of that week!
Are you allowed to wear make-up and jewellery when you play?
M: You can wear make-up, but no jewellery at all. Even wedding rings have to be taped over.
A: You can’t even wear a hairgrip! Once a player was wearing one and it cut another girl’s face. I do wear a little make-up, though.
T: I sometimes wear false eyelashes! I say: ‘If you feel good, you play good’.
Can you play football in a tutu?
T: Tabby, you can play football in whatever you like! Although, if you play for a team, you might want to all wear the same kit?
M: (laughs) Maybe not during an actual match. Well, perhaps if you had your shin guards and long socks on, too!
C: I don’t know if the referee would allow it, but why not? My sister is a professional dancer, so I’m sure she’d let me borrow one!
I worry about how I could fit football in with my homework and studies. How did you make it work?
M: It’s about managing your time. As soon as I came out of school, I’d have dinner, do an hour or so of studying and then go training.
A: My family were eager for me to get good grades, so I’d have something to fall back on – I can’t be a footballer all my life. You have to be very organised and fit it in wherever you can. So, for instance, I’d do homework on the 30-minute bus ride home from school, or the 45-minute journey to training.
C: Write yourself a weekly schedule. And then stick to it. If you’re struggling to fit it all in, you might have to cut back on your social life. But it’s worth it in the long run to become a professional!
I love playing football – but how can I get better at it?
T: Work hard, practise a lot and make sure you have a good, positive attitude.
A: There’s a lot of hard work involved! But also make sure you do extra stuff on the pitch – I often stay on for 10 minutes after practice to work on my passing or shooting. And love what you do. I can kick a ball all day, every day, and still have a smile on my face.
C: It takes a lot of commitment and dedication – so do something every day that you know will make you better.
Why should I play football instead of netball or hockey?
A: I wouldn’t like to say football is better than any other sport. It’s about playing what you enjoy most.
M: I agree! But football is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, so at the moment, it’s an exciting time to be involved in it as a female.
I love playing football, but it’s only the boys in my class who play it. Should I join in?
A: Absolutely! When I was at primary school I was always playing with the boys at break-time. I didn’t see any difference between us – we just enjoyed playing it together.
T: Yes! Playing football against the lads made me a better player.
C: When I was about five or six I joined the boys’ team, until the age of 12. As soon as you join in, you’ll become friends with the boys and enjoy it.
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Interviews by Rosie Benson Compiled by Danielle Hine Photography Getty Images, Shutterstock