By her own admission, Hannah Blundell was an “awful” player when she was a kid – but she is now on the cusp of breaking into the England senior team (writes Glen Lavery).
The Chelsea full-back was a late addition to the Lionesses squad, following injuries to Jo Potter and Blues club mate Millie Bright, for a warm weather training camp in La Manga.
Blundell was first called into the senior fold in October 2015, and although she is still awaiting her debut, her progress has been remarkable.
“I was an awful footballer when I was younger,” admitted Hannah. “I really was terrible. I played for a team in Eastbourne called Polegate Grasshoppers when I was eight years old. Looking back, we probably weren’t the best. I remember once we played in this tournament. We couldn’t even score a goal let alone win a game.
“I was on the subs bench when we eventually did score our first goal. I must have been so bad! If someone had told me then that one day I’d be playing for Chelsea and training with England I wouldn’t have believed them.
“But you look at the number of top players we’ve got at Chelsea; playing with them every day has really helped me progress my game to the point where I genuinely feel more confident in the big games.”
The 23-year-old, who helped Chelsea win the League and Cup double in 2015, has represented England at under-19, under-20 and under-23 level and now aspires to join Steph Houghton and co in the senior set-up.
Blundell said: “I’ve been in the squad a few times now so the next step is to make my debut. All I can do is keep performing at club level so that I keep getting called into squads. Then it’s about breaking into the team and hopefully keeping my place.
She continued, “We’ve had a good week in La Manga. The training has been excellent. It has been intense when it has needed to be, so we have all enjoyed it.”
England are next in action at the annual SheBelieves Cup in March, when they take on France, Germany and host nation USA. The next home match is a World Cup qualifier against Wales at Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium on Friday 6 April.
Tickets are already on sale, with an early bird offer for adult tickets purchased up to 31 January (standard price £10). Children and concessions tickets are just £1 and group booking and Charter Standard discounts apply.
Tickets can be purchased at TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling 02381 780 780.