England goalkeeper Carly Telford is writing a monthly column for The Offside Rule Podcast throughout the 2015/16 football season.
In her latest column, the goalkeeper looks ahead to Sunday’s Continental Tyres Cup final against Arsenal as well as discussing how she’s juggling preparations with her University studies.
I’m looking forward to Sunday’s game for a lot of reasons. It’s another final, it’s strong opposition and another chance of a medal. It’s the last game of the season for us and it would be a great way to go out. Myself, Bass [Laura Bassett] and Ellen [White] were talking the other week about how we could complete the set of medals for this year, I want to do that with this group. People talk about the potential of this group but I don’t want to be the team who is just about potential, I want to be the team that fulfils that potential, we have got it and we just need to click at the right time.
We had that opportunity at Wembley but we didn’t achieve anything we set out to do on that day, we’ve got two months off after this so it’s all or nothing for us on Sunday. It will probably be the last game for a few of the girls at County, it’s very rare you keep the same group every year so it’s an opportunity for a few to go out with a bang. But for most of us it’s a chance to put some silverware in the cabinet and progress as a team.
I hope it’s a good game, it will make for good TV and Arsenal are a very attacking side, they want to go forward and they’ve potentially got one of the best front lines in the league. They’ll be disappointed with no silverware so far and no Champions League so we know they will be as up for it as we are. As players we want to be the best, we didn’t finish in the league as well as we wanted to and we don’t want to walk away as runners-up again on Sunday!
Our preparation has been no different to the FA Cup final, we knew Chelsea’s strengths and weaknesses but for some reason that day it just didn’t happen for us, it didn’t click. We’ve played Arsenal now so many times and we do tend to perform quite well against them, we’ve got to start converting our chances and the difference between this season and last is we’ve created more chances but taken less of them. We need to be tight defensively and make sure we do our job at the other end, they’re not invincible, they have their weaknesses and it will come down to who takes their chances.
It’s fantastic to have so much experience in both teams but you look at players like Leah Williamson and the other young girls at Arsenal who thrive off it. You only have to look at how far they’ve come, Leah is probably marked as one of the players for the very near future and someone Mark [Sampson] will want to have a look at. But that doesn’t just come from her, it comes from the environment around her and the experience around her and hopefully it’s the same at County. But some of us are getting old now so we want to make our mark on finals, nobody ever remembers the team that lost in a final!
It’s scary when you think players like Leah and Carla Humphrey could have won League Cups, FA Cups and they won’t even be at their peak for another four or five years! But once again that comes from the people around them and the experience at Arsenal, but they’re ambitious young girls and they’re coming into women’s football at just the right time, they’ve got so much to look forward to. I’ve no doubt Leah will be one of the best players in the country in the not too distant future to be honest.
I’ve also been studying for a University degree around this season but it’s not been too bad juggling my studies with football. The training hasn’t been as intense towards the end of the season. The gaffer’s fully aware we’ve been training now for coming up to 11 months but I’m always done with my lectures by no later than 3pm, so I can train in the evening. It might be more difficult next year if we go full-time to attend every lecture I have but we’ll see how that turns out.
I haven’t missed any yet but I know I’ll miss some when I go away with England and I go to Australia for three weeks in December so I knew I’d be shooting myself in the foot if I missed any now. I’ve been an admirable student so I’m quite proud of myself! I did a Sport Science degree a few years ago but I didn’t enjoy it all, I found it all a bit mind-blowing and I ended it after a year. Now I’m looking towards what I do after football, I’d like to go into coaching but I like the idea of the media too and I might as well be doing something productive in my spare time!
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