Bethany England of Chelsea had one of those seasons when it all came together last year.
Twenty-one goals in all competitions, including the winner against Arsenal in last year’s Conti Cup final, saw her named both Chelsea and PFA Player of the Season.
In addition to her personal success, she also finished last season with a Conti-Cup and Women’s Super League winner’s medal, while making a breakthrough on the international stage with the Lionesses of England, marking her debut. against Brazil at Riverside Stadium.
Now an England regular and one of the WSL’s star strikers, her story is one dreams are made of, especially as she juggled a job at a fish and chips company in Barnsley early in her career. career while representing Doncaster. Beautiful Rovers.
Still, the Chelsea striker nearly missed out on all that glory, as she considered stepping away from football on two occasions.
Speaking exclusively to talkSPORT, England says: “There have been two instances where I have considered giving up.
“The first one was when I was at Doncaster Rovers Belles at a much younger age and I was probably more naive and just thought the world was over if things hadn’t worked out well.
“The second was when I went on loan and I think everyone knows in this story, my confidence was at its lowest and I felt like I failed.
“I think it’s pretty hard to turn away. I had great people around me and people to help me get through this time which was difficult for me.
“I hope I managed to show that I came out better on the other side and since then I have been able to have good seasons, especially last year.
“I think everyone now knows me as a fish and chips player! It’s probably not the best story to have, but it’s my story and that’s how it is.
“I forget that I have been in this league for a long time. I started playing WSL when I was 16, so I’ve been in it for ten years. I feel like it’s been a long journey, even though I’m still relatively young and know that there are still a lot of years left in these legs.
“I think it’s important that we continue to fight for women’s football and I’m honored to be a part of it and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I know it will only get better from here.
This season, however, hasn’t quite gone as planned for the striker, with injuries meaning she has lost her place in the Chelsea squad in recent weeks to Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby. and Danish striker Pernille Harder.
The 26-year-old has still scored 11 goals in all competitions, however, and is desperate to reclaim her place in the Chelsea squad, with the Blues currently in the driver’s seat to claim their second straight WSL title.
“I think we’ve shown a lot of character and resilience this year. Personally, it has been a difficult year. I got off to a really bad start when my appendix broke just before the start of the preseason, which took a long time to come back, ”she explains.
“A lot of big names are at Chelsea and the competition is tough. Obviously the manager decides who she’s going to play every week and unfortunately I haven’t had as many minutes as I would have liked this year.
“I had a fairly serious concussion at Atletico [Madrid] game which unfortunately kept me down for about three weeks. Three weeks is not long, but in our schedule I missed about six games, which is huge. My head is fine, that’s the main thing.
“I would like to think that everyone who knows me knows that I am not a coward and I will fight for what I can.” Crossing my fingers means I’ll have more minutes soon enough. “
If Chelsea come away with a second league title in as many seasons, goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger will have to thank goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger after making an impressive save to deny Lauren Hemp a late winner for Manchester City when the teams met in a table top clashed just over a week ago.
The ruling prompted Chelsea boss Emma Hayes to call Berger one of the best goalkeepers in the world, a statement England also agree with.
“For me, she’s the best by far. We train with her every day and times like this with the last stoppage of the game against City happen regularly in training, ”she revealed.
“The girls see her quality and it’s honestly phenomenal how fast her reactions are, what she can do and the saves she can make. I’m so proud of her because I don’t think she always gets the credit she deserves.
With more silverware with Chelsea potentially on the cards, another ambition for England is to represent the GB team at this summer’s Olympics in Japan.
Much has changed internationally over the past year, with Phil Neville stepping down as England Lioness boss to fill the vacant position at Inter Miami.
Hege Riise was placed in interim charge until September before Sarina Wiegman took the reins, meaning she will also lead the GB women’s team at the Olympics and which England have lauded the impact of the Norwegian since her arrival.
“Hege is a very interesting character,” she finished. “She was a phenomenal player and brings a lot of experience and coaching to the team.
“We’ve only had two camps together and it’s still relatively new. But she and Rhian [Wilkinson] and the way they work I’m a huge fan of it.
“I know the last two results don’t really reflect the quality of our team, but I believe this team is capable of great things. [I’m] awaiting the Olympics. I think Hege is going to do a great job with any team she takes there.
“It would mean the world to me [to go to the Olympics]. My family is big on the Olympic side and that’s the main thing we grew up watching.
“What an honor to be able to say that you were an Olympian and that you went to the Olympics representing the GB team. I would like to think the girls are going to be able to do a great job, whoever will go and make sure they bring home a medal as well.
Listen to Bethany England’s full interview on Women’s Football Weekly on talkSPORT2 starting at 8 p.m. tonight.