We recently caught up with the Blackburn keeper, who got an offer to play international football via a Northern Ireland recruitment campaign on this very website!
SK: How has the season with Blackburn Rovers, gone so far? Happy with the form?
KP: “It’s been very intense, challenging and unpredictable. It’s a very tight league, with still some very important up and coming games still too be played”
SK: Highlight of the season must be last week’s results, particularly against Norway?
KP: “Absolutely! It was a great advert for women’s football and the game in Northern Ireland. Just to be involved at a European stage named in the Northern Ireland senior squad witnessing a historic achievement is an experience I will never be able to forget and one which I have learnt and improved vastly from being a part of.”
SK: It was an incredible result, did the team play well and deserve the victory?
KP: “The girls played tremendously well, as did Norway, we scored 3 great goals. The girls were putting their bodies on the line and they showed great character, mental toughness and fitness to see the game out for a well deserved victory and 3 points.”
SK: What was it like after the game?
KP: “Everyone had smiles on their faces, many congratulations were being expressed between countries from other continents, players/staff, family and friends, who created a fantastic crowd atmosphere during the game. It was an ecstatic result which was followed by a happy full day of travelling the next day from Dublin to Vienna, to prepare for the next European game versus Hungary.”
SK: What did Alfie have to say?
KP: “Alfie was very proud of everyone involved and delighted by the historic result, as all the hard work which has been implemented over many years has began to flourish! Alfie and staff encouraged and motivated us to approach the next game with the same focus, attitude, preparation and the view to believe in all our own abilities and capabilities that we possess as individuals and as a team when we come together”
SK: What about the Hungary game, were you disappointed not to come away with all three points?
KP: "As a team we were bitterly disappointed not to come away with the three points, to be so close is the harsh reality of football, but on a positive too still come away with a point is a still a great result!. We all learnt valuable lessons which will only help us become stronger as a team, coming out of the Norway game the girls put in another superb performance and it shows just how high the expectations the squad sets themselves and strives for.”
SK: How did you come to play for N.I.?
KP: “I received a phone call and email from Alfie asking if I would be interested to attend a training camp, previously being involved with England in the past made it a very hard decision. But it was an opportunity of a life time not to be missed, so I attended the camp and thoroughly enjoyed myself and the time I spent their. Later that month I was invited to return to take part in a friendly versus the Republic of Ireland. From their, Alfie said he was very keen to take me on, which I was delighted to hear. Later that week I received my first senior call up away to Bulgaria and Iceland for the start of the European Championships qualifying campaign.”
SK: What have the staff/team been like with you?
KP:The staff and team has been fantastic! There all really great people to get on with, I've made some great friends and they have made me very welcome. They all share a huge family team spirit, desire, hunger and never say die attitude which is very contagious!!!!!
I’m very grateful for the opportunity Alfie and Ireland have given me and can’t thank them enough. I’m very proud to have held recognition for both England and Ireland, but I’m very excited and look forward to helping, and relishing the exciting challenges ahead with, the Northern Ireland squad.
SK: What are your aims for 2011/2012?
KP: To keep Grafting, performing and training hard for both club and country. I’ve always been encouraged to keep my head down, my feet on the ground and to never give up.
Neither are workable or likely at present but hypothetically, would you prefer a more strict salary cap in the FA WSL OR should centrally contracted England players (that receive salaries from The FA) be allocated more evenly around WSL1 clubs?