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NRL wants all 16 clubs to survive

May 26, 2020 | kzmwuuff | No Comments

first_imgThe NRL announced on Monday it was suspending its season until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic.Like many sports and leagues around the world, the financial impact is set to be felt by the NRL and its clubs, but Greenberg is keen to ensure none fold.”That’s been the commission’s view from start to finish is that no-one gets left behind and we’ve got to make sure that we have an ability to help all 16 stay afloat for the premiership and for the long-term and that’s really important,” he told Fox Sports on Thursday.”Some will be doing it harder than others. It’s almost a perfect storm for some of our Sydney clubs as their licensed clubs have closed at the same time. A lot of the Sydney-based clubs are so reliant on leagues clubs funding so for this moment in time where their leagues clubs are closed and a big part of their revenues comes from those, as well as having the gates closed for membership and ticketing and sponsorship, as well as the TV money, it is a very, very difficult time.”Our goal as we stand here today is to make sure all 16 come out the other end. As I said, it’s not going to be easy and there’s a lot of hard decisions being made.”You just talked about the staff and I think that’s the part that everyone has the most difficulty accepting is the personal impact. We’ve got hundreds of staff at the NRL, many of them are just hard working men and women with families, children, mortgages and I had to look them all in the eye earlier this week too and it’s a very unpleasant experience, but it’s really the only choice we have and we’re not the only industry in this country who are doing it.”There are literally hundreds and hundreds of businesses facing the same challenge and rugby league is no different.”The NRL seemed desperate to continue amid the COVID-19 outbreak, before stricter travel measures in Australia saw it suspend its season.The list of coaches on leave grows with Arthur and Green the latest to join. https://t.co/HhTJdprr0B— NRL (@NRL) March 25, 2020Greenberg said the NRL would work to make sure it returns this year after productive talks with the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA).”We are going to do everything we can to make sure there’s rugby league in 2020 on the field, whether that comes in June, July, August or even as late as September and we play through to Christmas,” he said.”We’ve got to plan for each of those models and then we’ve got to also, most importantly, ensure the financial future of the game so that when we do come back, we’ve got enough money left and we can pay everyone accordingly.”We’ve got to bunker down in this period, cut all our costs and that includes the players. We had some really good discussions with the players and all credit to [RLPA chief] Clint Newton and some of the senior players I spoke to yesterday, there wasn’t one of those players who were concerned about their own financial future. The primary concern that came through on that call was what are we going to do about the players from numbers 20 to 30 and how do we make sure they stay afloat during this six-month period? And I’ve got to tell you it was a nice, warming thing to hear that the players have got a view about their colleagues.”Photo Getty Images Caption: NRL chief executive Todd Greenberglast_img read more

first_imgSwen was introduced in the 88th minute, replacing South Africa-based Anthony Laffor in the Lone Star 1-0 win against Zimbabwe(Photo: Anthony Kokoi) Liberia’s 1-0 win over Zimbabwe at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex on Sunday was not just a triumph for the national team, but also a memorable moment for Barrack Young Controllers’ defender Eugene Swen, who made his international debut with the senior national team.Swen started from the bench and was later introduced in the 88th minute, replacing former national team skipper Anthony Laffor, after taking the lead in the 72nd through Captain William Jebor’s close-range goal.The 19-year-old defender, who had an outstanding debut season, winning double titles with BYC in the 2018 Liberia Football Association League season, was named to coach Thomas Kojo’s provisional squad and later made it to the final squad for the Zimbabwe encounter.“I am very excited to have made my debut for the Lone Star. It was a great moment for my career. I could not describe the feelings with the team securing such a result, particularly on my birthday. It was a moment that I have waited for quite a long time and it finally came through,” he said.Swen’s introduction in the match was made at the time Lone Star looked to build up their defense in order to prevent the Warriors from getting the equalizer.“Going on training camp and playing along with players like Anthony Laffor, William Jebor, Tonia Tisdell and the rest of the guys was just a sign of encouragement for me to keep working harder, and I look forward to challenges ahead,” he said.There is still a huge task ahead of Swen as he could be included in BYC’s squad for their 2018/2019 CAF Champions League match against Guinean side Horoya FC in the preliminary rounds.BYC were paired against the Guinean outfit after the result for the draw was released by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) on November 9. According to the fixtures released by CAF, BYC will play their first leg away from home between November 27-28 before returning home for the second leg between December 4 and 5.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

US pledges support for Guyana’s development

January 12, 2020 | kzmwuuff | No Comments

first_imgUS Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann LynchThe governments of Guyana and the United States of America (USA) have once again pledged their commitment to support and cooperation, as they aim to strengthen bilateral agreements with each other.This message was conveyed during a reception at the US Ambassador’s residence on Friday evening to celebrate the country’s 243rd Independence Anniversary.President David Granger – whose Administration is now a caretaker Government following the Caribbean Court of Justice’s ruling that it was toppled after the successful passage of a No-Confidence Motion on December 21, 2018 – who delivered remarks at the event, recognised that the two countries have shared excellent relations since the establishment of formal diplomatic ties back in 1966.“Our countries have cultivated a strong, stable and sound relationship over the past 53 years. Guyanese are bound by history, kinship and friendship to the USA, the largest economy and the third-largest country in the world. Guyana and the USA have founded their friendship on the principles of mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, cooperation for mutual benefit, respect for international law and treaties and the maintenance of international peace and security” the President said.On that note, the Head of State highlighted the numerous cooperation programmes and investments made by the United States, which have contributed to the country’s national development and social change. In addition, the President underscored that Guyana looks forward to continued cooperation with the country as it is a significant trade and investment partner.Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah-Ann Lynch pledged her country’s continued support and cooperation in Guyana’s future development.“We continue to collaborate with Guyana in preparation for this new days; partnering on the security front to make Guyana safer and more secure; partnering on the governance front to improve transparency and accountability and to reduce corruption; partnering on the economic front to increase trade and US investments in Guyana. Our partnership will continue to thrive and be successful with strong US and Guyanese leadership,” she explained.The Ambassador also used the opportunity to urge all of the country’s leaders to play their role in ensuring that Guyana is positioned for success.“I urge all Guyanese, Government officials, leaders and members of the Opposition, civil society and youth to help your country on its journey to success,” Lynch asserted.The event was attended by both members of the now caretaker Government and the Opposition – People’s Progressive Party – along with members of the diplomatic community and civil society.last_img read more

first_imgSilicon Valley tech giant Facebook has announced plans to invest in building and growing the developer community in Guyana through the launch of a local chapter of the Global Developers Circle (DevC) from Facebook.Samantha SheoprashadThe launch is being overseen by the local chapter head, Samantha Sheoprashad and will take place on Saturday, September 21, 2019 at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre at noon.Facebook is a company that grew from the developer community, and Developer Circles is a programme aimed at making local developers stronger at a global scale.The local chapter is aimed at creating communities for developers to collaborate and share knowledge because they believe in empowering developers around the world to learn from each other and benefit from the products, services, and best practices that Facebook has established.Facebook Developers Circle is a programme designed to create locally organised communities for developers. These communities allow developers all over the world to connect, learn, and collaborate. Each circle is community-driven, free to join and provide a platform for members to share knowledge, build new ideas, and learn about the latest technology from Facebook and other industry leaders.According to Sheoprashad, each circle has a lead, who is tasked with finding unique ways to engage their local communities online and offline. These communities are meant to educate and provide a forum for discussion and knowledge sharing around topics that are top-of-mind for developers in a particular market. Some of these technologies includes courses and using the platform to learn about developer tools and Facebook’s products such as Facebook Login, Account Kit, Analytics for Apps, Instagram, Messenger, Oculus, Free Basics, React, Rebound, Fresco, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality.Attendees, at Saturday’s event, will enjoy panel discussions and networking sessions with local talents and representatives from the Facebook team; they will also interact with Sheoprashad, the local DevC lead.“We see this as an opportunity to continue building the local tech industry and harness on our innovative and creative skills most importantly. Trifinity Solutions, a digital marketing company, joins DevC as a local community partner. Trifinity Solutions has been using technology to create solutions. We have been working to train and support tech talents through mentoring and training courses. With such community development in our country, we will be able to develop and nurture local tech talent for local and international opportunities. We committed to supporting emerging tech talent across Guyana and through this collaboration, we can expose our community to the tools and technologies being used by one of the world’s leading tech companies,” Sheoprashad said.Currently, DevC has a presence in Jamaica, Barbados, Puerto Rico, and Haiti from which there are great successes in the empowerment of local tech individuals, and now the focus is on Guyana.last_img read more

Essequibo Hindu temple robbed twice in 3 weeks

January 11, 2020 | kzmwuuff | No Comments

first_imgThe Hare Krishna Temple located at Land of Plenty on the Essequibo Coast, Region Two (Pomeroon- Supenaam) was broken into twice during the space of three weeks.Temple PresidentRadha Raman DasThe perpetrators stole a quantity of food items along with a gas bottle, a cellular phone, and a gallon of paint. Temple President Radha Raman Dass told Guyana Times that there was a break-in about two Sundays ago and some items were stolen.In the second instance, the perpetrators reportedly entered the living quarters where Dass was asleep Sunday evening. However, they did not harm him. When he woke up the next morning, he saw two sets of boot prints in the yard.As he checked around, he realised that items were again missing. The Police were contacted and an investigation is underway.last_img

Follow the money

January 11, 2020 | kzmwuuff | No Comments

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THE special interests care – deeply – about the outcome of the May 15 school board election. In total, they have given incumbent Jon Lauritzen and challenger Tamar Galatzan a whopping $3.2 million. While Galatzan’s money mostly comes by way of the school-reform movement led by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Lauritzen’s has come from the teachers union and an administrators association. As the old saying goes: Follow the money. If you like the LAUSD status quo, if you’re content with the stifling bureaucracy and the high dropout rate, Lauritzen is your man. On the other hand, if you want to break out of the LAUSD’s failed patterns, Galatzan is your best bet. Either way, the only way special interests won’t end up winning this race is if voters show up in massive numbers and make the outcome their own. And then follow up by demanding real reform.last_img read more

first_imgWhen asked to describe what he admires most about Federer, also a long-time off-court friend, Nadal was keen to cool the “bromance.”“I don’t want to look like I gonna be his boyfriend, no?” said Nadal, causing a packed media conference room to burst into laughter.“We don’t want to talk these kind of things before important match. We have a lot of respect for each other, no? We played a lot of times. I think we did important things for tennis. We appreciate that.“We always had a good relationship. I think he always has been a great ambassador for tennis and for our sport, with good image, of course, and representing good values.“One important thing that is a great example for kids, doing unbelievable well and doing it with the right attitude.“That’s something I admire as you can admire — I think I answered already.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Roger Federer of Switzerland (L) and Rafael Nadal of Spain shake hands after Federer defeated Nadal in the men’s final match on day 14 of the Miami Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on April 2, 2017 in Key Biscayne, Florida © Getty/AFP/File / Rob FoldyNEW YORK, United States, Sep 7 – Rafael Nadal had to calm growing enthusiasm over a possible US Open semi-final clash with old rival Roger Federer by warning reporters against making the two appear “boyfriends.”Nadal and Federer, two of the greatest players of all time, have met 37 times, including 12 at the Grand Slams, but never in New York.last_img read more

Stars blank 10-man Rwanda in CECAFA opener

January 10, 2020 | kzmwuuff | No Comments

first_img0Shares0000Harambee Stars players celebrate Duncan Otieno’s blistering goal against Rwanda in the CECAFA Senior Challenge opening match on December 3, 2017 in Kakamega. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluKAKAMEGA, Kenya, Dec 3- Paul Put began his tenure as Harambee Stars coach positively as the Kenyans kicked off their 2017 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over Rwanda’s Amavubi at the Bukhungu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.Massoud Juma’s penalty and Duncan Otieno’s thunderbolt both in the first half saw Kenya, winners of the title in 2013, make a statement in a fully packed Bukhungu Stadium with among the dignitaries present for the opener being former Premier Raila Odinga. Amavubi had to finish the match with ten men after Soter Kayumba was shown red seven minutes from the restart for a second bookable offense, his second being bad-mouthing the referee while the first was for the penalty awarded to Kenya in the first half.Stars took a 2-0 lead at the break, much deserved from Put’s men after being the most efficient upfront, creating the most dangerous of chances.Both sides took time to settle into the match but Rwanda had an early chance after four minutes. An onrushing Eric Rutanga failed to connect with a header a cross from the right by Djabel Manishimwe, with Patrick Matasi in the Kenyan goal beaten to the ball.In the 12th minute, Stars had the first open chance of the game, Juma releasing George ‘Blackberry’ on the left, the speedy Gor Mahia winger cutting into the box but his eventual shot was well saved by Rwandese shot stopper Eric Ndayishimiye.Almost immediately, Stars had another chance, this time Ndayishimiye making a crucial interception of the ball with his fingers to take it away from Juma who had rushed in to meet a cross from Samuel Onyango.Kenya, pushed by the capacity Bukhungu Stadium had began to get their rhythm into the game and they finally broke the deadlock in the 25th minute from the penalty spot.Harambee Stars defender Jockins Atudo is fouled by Rwanda’s Soter Kayumba inside the box during a CECAFA Senior Challenge Group match at the Bukhungu Stadium in Kakamega on December 3, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluJockins Atudo was tagged down inside the box by Soter Kayumba as he rose in to meet a Patillah Omotto freekick and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Juma stepped up and scored, sending Ndayishimiye the wrong side.Rwanda having gone down upped the tempo as well and they began going more into the Kenyan box, choosing to use aerial balls which were often well dealt with by the Kenyan backline or keeper Matasi.In the 33rd minute, Abeddy Birahimire had a chance after being picked out by Justin Mico who had done well on the left to skip away from Dennis Sikhayi, but Mico could not get a shot on target under police marking from Atudo, sending his shot wide.Four minutes on the turn, Juma had a brilliant opportunity to complete his brace when he was picked out by Whyvonne Isuza who had stolen the ball off a Rwandese defender, but the Kariobangi Sharks forward’s attempt unmarked inside the box went over.His blushes were wiped away however a minute later and in superb fashion.Some good movement from the Stars saw Odhiambo cross the ball from the left, Isuza setting up Otieno who took a thunderbolt from 30 yards out, leaving keeper Ndayishimiye well beaten with no chance.It was a brilliant way to end the opening half and quite a rewarding performance for the tens of thousands of fans who had thronged the stadium.Kenya’s Whyvonne Isuza strolls forward against Rwanda’s Djihad Bizimana during a CECAFA Senior Challenge Group match on December 3, 2017 at the Bykhungu Stadium in Kakamega. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluStars were handed an advantage seven minutes from the restart with Kayumba sent off, but no sooner had he gone off than the heavens opened, making it difficult for both sides to play on the ground.Put made changes, Onyango coming out for Ernest Wendo, a definite change to solidify the midfield while Juma came off for Kepha Aswani.The Nakumatt FC forward had two chances to get his name on the scoresheet as well, both fed in by Isuza, but the two shots were all blocked by Ndayishimiye from close range.0Shares0000(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

first_img0Shares0000Bandari FC head coach Bernard Mwalala during a training session at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on January 25, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluDAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Jan 28 – Bandari FC head coach Bernard Mwalala has revealed he will be dipping into the Tanzanian towns of Singida and Mwanza to strengthen his squad when the Kenyan Premier League transfer opens.Though he declined to peg any names on the ambition, Mwalala who says he wants to strengthen his side for a shot for the league title says several players from Singida and Mbao FC impressed him during the SportPesa Cup in Dar es Salaam and he will look to get their services. “There are two or three players who have impressed me from those two teams and definitely when the window opens, we will look to get them and strengthen our squad especially in the attack line,” Mwalala said.Among the players who impressed at the SportPesa Cup including keeper Metacha Mnata who was named keeper of the tournament, forward Raphael Siame who was Gor Mahia’s chief destroyer in the quarters and left back Amos Charles.Kariobangi Sharks left back Nixon Omondi turns away from Mbao FC’s Said Khamis during the semi finals of the SportPesa Super Cup on January 25, 2019. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluMwalala believes if he can get at least two more quality players into his side then they will be a force to reckon with and improve on their second place finish in the league last season.Bandari reached the final of the SportPesa Cup on their debut, losing to eventual champions Kariobangi Sharks by a solitary goal.Despite the loss, Mwalala says he was impressed with the performance of his players and said they picked so many vital lessons that will aid them going back home.“It has been a learning process for us and I think we also leave as winners. We have reaped so much from this tournament and it will give us such a huge advantage going back home to the league,” Mwalala said.Bandari FC forward William Wadri (centre) celebrates his goal against Simba SC during the semi finals of the SportPesa Super Cup on January 25, 2019.“We have a very young team and this was their first time at such a stage and also for me as a coach and despite losing the final, we can’t go back home with our heads down. We have been the darling of the crowd and played beautiful football,” Mwalala who formerly played for Yanga here in Dar stated.The tactician was also full of praise for youngster William Wadri who was named the tournament’s Most valuable Player after picking the man of the match accolade in two of Bandari’s three games in the tournament.“He (Wadri) deserves it. He has not only played well here but in the KPL as well. He is disciplined on and off the pitch and works hard in training. This is the fruit of hard work and now it gives him more motivation because more people have seen him and a big team can now come and ask for his services,” the tactician stated.Bandari fly back home Monday and their concentration will be directly swung to the Western Kenya town of Kakamega when they face Kakamega Homeboyz in a rescheduled league tie at the Bukhungu Stadium.The dockers who have not lost this season hope for the positive vibes to continue as they look to bridge the gap between them and leaders Mathare United who are in flying form this season.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

first_imgWhen did that change? “When I started playing for England. When you tell people you play for England, they go: ‘Ooh, she must be really good then.’ All of a sudden what was a negative reaction to me being a footballer became positive because I played for England. So I started to own it a lot more and embrace what I was doing.”After your first World Cup in 2007, you spoke out about England players being paid £40 a day for the five weeks they were at the tournament. Was that an outpouring of frustration?“It was about making people aware of the situation; of the fact that we make a lot of sacrifices to play for England. And to ask: ‘How are we going to change this?’ But it was also frustration at the fact football is a performance sport. If you do well, you should be rewarded. It’s not always about financial reward, but when you’re in a situation where players are losing out to represent their country, that’s not right. It doesn’t make sense. Players shouldn’t be financially worse off for representing their country – they should be financially supported.���Did your law studies mark you out as the team’s spokesperson on such things?“I’ve always been the one to be diplomatic but honest about the situation without trying to criticise anyone, because women’s football was at a stage – and still is, to an extent – where it doesn’t necessarily make a lot of commercial money in the same way as the men’s game. But it’s a chicken-and-egg situation. You have to pay players well to be professional, so that it can get to that point. It’s about the authorities and the FA realising that, and I think they do now. We are a lot better supported these days. We have central contracts and players can call football their job. All that started back then, though, when there was a greater awareness about it – as a team, we had to say certain things.”This will be your third World Cup, after China in 2007 and Germany in 2011. What are you expecting from it? “Just qualifying for China was amazing because it was the first one we’d been to in 12 years. And 2011 was a massive World Cup, because there were sell-out crowds. But I read that an estimated 400 million people are going to tune into this one, so in terms of women’s sport I think people are just more interested. By virtue of that, it’s going to be the biggest World Cup yet. Players are more professional now, too, so the parity is going to be better, even with some of the smaller nations. It will be the hardest one yet, but it’s a really exciting time for women’s football.” You weren’t surprised Powell was subsequently sacked, then? “I was, because it was such a big change after she’d been manager for 15 years. But I wasn’t surprised there was a recognition that there had to be a change, because the media pressure was huge. All eyes were on us and so, had there not been a change, I think there would have just been too many people waiting for another failure. That media pressure should be there, though. We represent England. If we’re not doing well, people have a right to say it needs to improve.”Have you had to get used to that increased scrutiny as the women’s game has gathered a greater following and received wider media coverage? “I wouldn’t call it scrutiny. I can still walk down the street and not feel like I’m on edge, which is something I don’t think a lot of male players would be able to say. In terms of what we do as role models, though, I think there is an awareness that has to come with being a female footballer now. The media don’t need any excuses to create a story about something, so we have to be aware of what we’re saying and what we’re tweeting. Other than that, it’s nice to be able to live normally and do what you love.”You made your senior debut for England more than a decade ago, in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands in 2004. Do you remember much about the experience? “I was 17 and I was so scared and nervous. I remember just kicking the ball away every time I got it. But I actually learned a lot from that experience because I was so disappointed with myself. It was a bit of a reality check for me to make sure that didn’t happen again, and that whenever I put on the England shirt I try to actually relax a bit and play football rather than being so terrified of the experience.”When you were growing up, what sort of reaction did you get when you told people you were a footballer?  “I was never ashamed of playing football, but I was always freaked out by people’s reactions. I never really knew how to communicate it. I found it easier to say I played tennis because there was Venus and Serena Williams, who were identifiable black females who I could relate to and people thought it made sense. When I said football, it just didn’t click for a lot of people.” 5 5 Chelsea star Eni Aluko This interview appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the free iPad app from the Apple Newsstand, and follow on twitter @sportsmagukYou probably know the name Eni Aluko.You’ve probably seen her face plenty of times, too, for the Chelsea and England striker is one of the highest-profile female footballers in the country. Not too long ago that would have meant little. But now, Aluko and her England teammates head to the World Cup in Canada with names and faces familiar to more people than ever before. “I have noticed quite a sharp difference in terms of profile,” says Aluko when we meet at Chelsea’s Cobham training base. “Mostly because I’m very busy. If I’m not playing then I’m doing media stuff. But it’s nice to see that people want to know what female footballers have to say and hear our stories. Men’s football is everywhere you turn; you can’t get away from it. So people are crying out for new voices and new faces. Women’s football can provide that.”That Aluko’s voice has been so in demand is not surprising. A recently qualified lawyer, she delivers the same creativity and intelligence in conversation as she does on a football pitch – where she has become one of England’s brightest stars since making her senior debut at the age of 17. Now 28, and having been to two World Cups with England, Aluko will be one of the most experienced members of manager Mark Sampson’s squad when the Lionesses begin their campaign against France on Tuesday.  Aluko is acutely aware that the upsurge in fame for both her and the women’s game also increases the pressure on the team.“If we do well in Canada then the women’s game is going to sky-rocket even further than it has done,” she says. “But at the same time, if we don’t do well, we’ll get what happens in the men’s game where you are being hung out to dry in the press. We have to expect that and not think it’s going to be plain sailing. It’s added motivation for us to do well.” 5 5 England returned from their previous major tournament, the 2013 European Championships, having failed to win a single game – a performance that led to former manager Hope Powell being sacked. Two years on from that disastrous campaign, Aluko says much has changed. That claim will face a stern test from the first whistle of England’s campaign.England’s first game in Canada is against France – the same side that knocked you out of the 2011 World Cup quarter-finals on penalties. It’s not the easiest start…“It’s not, but I’m almost glad we’re playing France first because it’s like: ‘Welcome to the World Cup.’ It’s a big game. We know they’re an extremely technical team with incredible speed on the wings, and they have come so close in previous tournaments [that 2011 semi-final was their best performance] that I’m sure they’ll be really motivated and look to start off on a good foot against us. But I believe that, if we’re ready and prepared, we can win that game.”It will be England’s first major tournament under Mark Sampson. Can you compare the build-up you have had with when Hope Powell was in charge?“He’s very different in the sense that he’s rotated the squad a lot coming into the World Cup. A lot of other teams and nations will start playing their strongest XI in the build-up, but Mark hasn’t done that. He has kept players on their toes. There’s a lot of competition for places, but to win a World Cup you need everyone performing at their best. He’s a firm believer in utilising the squad for different games, knowing that different opposition pose different threats. I think that’s been the big difference in his preparation compared with Hope – everyone in the squad has played a lot of minutes.”Rotation didn’t hold you back in qualifying [England were unbeaten in ten matches, scoring 52 goals and conceding just one].“It was a fantastic campaign because, with a new manager, we had a lot to prove as players. He also had a style of play he wanted, which was very attacking. The way we qualified is going to put a lot of other teams on notice that we are able to play that way. We have been a bit more conservative in our past few games, but you’ve got to have a few strings to your bow going into a World Cup because it’s not going to be one-dimensional. There are many ways to win and we have to be ready for that.” Those performances were a world away from England’s display at the 2013 Euros in Sweden. What do you put that down to? “We were just in a very stagnant place as a team. Hope Powell was a very good coach, but other teams had sussed us out. We played the same way, with the same formation and the same players – and maybe some players were a bit complacent. They weren’t challenged in the same way they are now. Mark has brought in so many different players and has given young ones an opportunity. It makes other people hungry and creates healthy competition that brings the best out in people. I don’t think there was a lot of that going into 2013. But I think that [the Euros performance] had to happen for us to say: ‘Right, what do we need to do to get to the next level?’ Every team goes through that; it’s part of the modern game. You need new voices and to be pushing the boundaries and changing things.” 5 What sort of impact do you think it would have here if England do well in Canada?“It’s scary to think about it. In terms of fans coming to games, I like to think that it would be a hot ticket. That, after the World Cup, people will want to get season tickets to clubs, and turn out every week to watch England players in their local teams. There will be a lot of commercial money coming into the game and brands will start investing in the game. Clubs will hopefully invest more, too. The likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have recognised that having successful women’s teams can only help their brand. Off the back of a successful tournament, I hope that investment increases, contracts get better, academies are built and young players can be paid better. All the things that come with success on the pitch.”No pressure then? [Smiles] “No pressure. But pressure is what we have to get used to. You can’t go into a World Cup expecting anything else.”last_img read more