Two years ago, all was very rosy in the world of Alex Greenwood. The young left back had just joined Notts County after leaving Everton and had made her England debut a year earlier after impressing new manager Mark Sampson.
A few months later, she was announced alongside Claire Rafferty as one of England’s two left backs for the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the Liverpudlian would return soon after with a bronze medal around her neck.
Greenwood was the youngest member of the squad that went to Canada (at 21) but it didn’t stop her being England’s game changer early on in the tournament. After losing the opener against France, Sampson turned to Greenwood off the bench against Mexico and the team went onto record a 2-0 win with Greenwood setting up the clincher.
She didn’t play in the semi-final defeat against Japan but was deployed as a wing back against Germany as the Lionesses made history in Edmonton. Now, the 23-year-old wants to go a step further.
“When you get a taste of it, you want it more and when you look at this group why wouldn’t you want it more?” Said Greenwood, before adding, “I think we’re well-equipped to go out there and get gold.”
12 months on from the World Cup and Greenwood’s career just kept on soaring. An impressive year under Rick Passmoor at Notts earned her a move back home, this time to Liverpool.
A rare England goal soon followed in a qualifier against Serbia, before a training injury brought Greenwood’s year to a sudden halt.
The left back damaged her ankle ligaments going into the second half of the season and wouldn’t return until Liverpool’s SSE Women’s FA Cup campaign got underway last month.
With Demi Stokes holding down the place of England’s first choice left back in Greenwood’s absence and Claire Rafferty’s return to the squad, was Greenwood worried her spot on the plane was under threat?
“My main focus was for this squad announcement, it was my motivation to get back in,” she said.
“I missed being around the team. I don’t panic when Demi or Raff are there because they’re here to do a job. It’s hard seeing everyone have a good time and you’re sat at home on the sofa but that motivation really helped me.”
Greenwood’s now back in action for her club and is also in the squad for England’s two friendlies this week against Italy and Austria, and the defender now just wants to get back on the pitch in preparation for the summer.
“For me, I need minutes,” she said bluntly. “I’m going to try and enjoy the Spring Series and get back to where I left off hopefully.
“It’s a relief to be in the squad. It’s also exciting and a little bit of everything else, to be honest. I’ve worked so hard whilst injured to get back fit and I have to thank Liverpool for helping me through it.”
Greenwood can no longer lay claim to being the youngest player in the squad with Manchester City’s Nikita Parris picked for her first major tournament but Greenwood is now heading for her second major tournament at just 23.
What would it mean to win? With everyone talking England up after the World Cup, Greenwood doesn’t even know what to say when contemplating such an outcome.
“I actually don’t even know [what it would mean], come to me and interview me at the time,” she laughed.
“It would be absolutely unbelievable. The work we do away from the cameras, the graft we put in, means we have one goal and that’s to win. In major tournaments you always need a bit of luck but on our day we know we can beat anyone.”