Midfielder Karen Carney got longer on the pitch than she expected against Russia WRITES CATHERINE ETOE...
The substitute was delighted to get on, but it wasn’t the reintroduction to match football she had hoped for - she came off the bench and on to the pitch at the expense of her friend Rachel Yankey, who suffered a hamstring pull. Carney got on with the job, as you would expect, and she is eager to put in a shift for England again today if she gets the chance. The 25-year-old Birmingham City player spent almost five weeks at St George’s Park trying to get her ankle right for this tournament but she feels fit and determined. Here’s what she had to say ahead of the big match against France tonight…
On the mood in the camp:
Everyone is preparing well, resting and very positive, we know what we have to do, it’s simple really, we’re just focusing on doing what we have to do.
On the game:
It’s going to be tight, England - France is one of those rivalry games, we’ve played each other millions of times. I’ve played against a lot of those players since I was 15-16 because we’ve grown up in the same age groups together so we are familiar with them and I’ve played with Necib and Thomis for years and years. It’s going to be tight but it’s going to be good.
On how she is feeling:
It’s been tough, I know I played 75-80 minutes the other day and it was a good building block for me, we’ll see what [today] brings. Yanks is one of my best mates so I was gutted to come on for her really, I would have liked to have come on in different circumstances, whether it be we were winning or just to tighten things up but I went on and gave it my best and that’s all I can do.
On her position:
I’ll play anywhere, I’ve played in goal I’ve played up front, as long as I play and I can try make a positive influence, that’s all that matters to me. I’ve played a lot in the 10 role, the 7, the 11, I could probably do a job at right back if need be but that’s the case for every one of us.
On looking fit despite her lay-off:
It’s because I was so proactive when I got injured with my diet and everything and when I went to St George’s Park they said you are at such a fitness level we can’t help you, we’ve just got to get your ankle better now. It was just a case of if you get your ankle sorted you’ll be ok. Of course I’d like to be sharper and have matches under my belt but I’m not going to dwell on negativity, I’m here and if I’m asked to go on and do something I’ll do it.
On what England need to do to win:
We’ve just got to stay in the game really for as long as possible. We need to be a bit tighter and compact as a team and probably bring a bit more fight to what we have been showing and get that bit between our teeth and that fire in our belly and really go for it. Everyone keeps going on about nerves, I think it’s been a blip, people forgetting our journey, how we’ve got here, how many teams we beat, how well we’ve done. Yes it is a major tournament and people can put it down to nerves but we’ve lost one game and drew one game it’s not the end of the world. People forget our 2009 journey where we lost the first game and were 2-0 down at half time in the second game and drew our third game. It’s no different and we got to the final so for us [today] is all that matters and we’ve just got to bring an extra 10 per cent, no matter who it is or where it’s from.
I’m past caring about who we are up against, I really don’t care anymore, all I want to do is go out there and give it our best and be supportive of team mates and make sure we get the win. I’m respectful of France, don’t get me wrong, but it’s about us now. England need three points, that’s all that counts.