The Future Of The Lionesses

The Future Of The Lionesses
Emily Laycock
Emily Laycock

The Lionesses have changed the course of women’s football in England during recent years, winning the Euros in 2022 and getting to the final of the Women’s World Cup last summer in Australia and New Zealand.

On the back of their achievements, a £30 million fund was announced by the government and Football Association to deliver pitches in support of women’s and girl’s football. The money was said to be being used to build approximately 30 state-of-the-art 3G pitches and accompanying facilities with reserved peak-time slots for women and girls and dedicated female changing facilities.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “During the World Cup, I said that we would do everything possible to support women and girls’ football so we can watch our Lionesses roar on the world stage for generations to come.

“Building on our unprecedented support for grassroots facilities, this is just the latest move in our commitment to invest in women and girls’ grassroots sport facilities and ensure the squad’s legacy lives long into the future.”

These future generations are already starting to create a name for themselves.

In November, England Women’s Under-19s finished off their year with an incredible camp in Portugal at the Algarve Cup coming away undefeated with a 2-2 draw against the hosts, Portugal, a 5-1 victory over Sweden and ending with a 3-3 draw against the Netherlands.

Freya Godfrey was one of the stand-out players of the tournament. The England midfielder scored in her side’s opening game of the camp in the 65th minute, converting the penalty with a strike into the bottom corner on the goalkeeper’s left.

The 18-year-old captained the team against Sweden and found herself on the scoresheet in her team’s victory.

She found the back of the net for a third time as the Lionesses rounded off their campaign against the Netherlands, holding them to a 3-3 draw.

Godfrey made her WSL debut for Arsenal in May 2023 after a season of dual registration with the Gunners and National League side Ipswich Town where she excelled on the pitch and showed her impact in front of goal as well in the heart of midfield.

The Essex-born attacking midfielder has been with the Arsenal Academy since she was 12 and is currently on a season-long loan with Barclays Women’s Championship side, Charlton Athletic, who currently sit in first.

Godfrey is set to be a future star in the world of women’s football, domestically and on the biggest stage of international football.

Alexia Potter is a go-to captain for the Lionesses, having led the team out in Portugal for their opening game.

She led the under-17s to the UEFA Euros semi-final in the summer and became the youngest-ever professional female player in England as she put pen to paper with a professional contract with Chelsea in September at 17-years-old after coming through the ranks of the Chelsea academy.

She is spending the 23/34 season on loan at Crystal Palace.

The England midfielder scored her first professional goal for the Championship side in their 3-2 victory against Lewes in November.

Coming on as a substitute with the game at 1-1, it only took her 12 minutes before she rippled the back of the net and changed the course of the game as the Eagles came away with the three points.

Not only is Potter set to play a big part in the future of the Blues when she returns from her loan at Palace, but she is also an exciting young prospect for the Lionesses as she has already shown what she is capable of at the age of 17.

Ava Baker played in all three of England’s games at the Algarve Cup and made her professional debut for the Foxes in January 2022 just three days after turning 16-years-old.

Her first WSL performance came in May during Leicester’s final home game of the 22/23 season, and she has gone on to become a crucial part of the team this season playing week-in, week-out.

Baker is sure to be on her way to success with England on an international level.

Poppy Pritchard scored a brace in the Under-19s’ 5-1 triumph over Sweden and having turned 18 on December 3rd, she is now eligible to sign her first professional contract.

The England Under-19 international is currently playing for Championship side Durham but has developed interest from WSL teams such as Chelsea, Manchester United, Brighton and Bristol who are chasing for her signature during the January transfer window.

Pritchard is certainly another young star who is set for a bright future with the Lionesses.

The growth and support of women’s football in recent years is allowing players like these to develop and reach their potential, and the calibre of players in the England youth set-up is making for an exciting time to be an England fan.

 

Image: England Lionesses

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