Goalkeeper Carly Telford reflects on being selected for the England Squad ahead of the European Championships in the Netherlands next month.
When I heard after La Manga that the squad was going to be announced early I was quite worried because I wondered how I was going to make an impact. I’d been out for so long and Mary [Earps] had played well while I was out and it meant we’d only have a couple of games to impress, then I found out I wasn’t going to the SheBelieves Cup and the doubt really starts to set in.
You don’t want them to, you want to back yourself and you hope you’ve done enough over the course of time to be in the squad. But Mark [Sampson] is picking his squad to win the European Championships. There were a few changes and obviously the squad for the two friendlies came out at the same time which gave a few of the youngsters a chance to impress.
I think that squad was meant to come out the day before but it was decided to do it on the same day because then people might have started to guess about who was in the squad or not. All that doubt was eliminated by announcing the squads on the same day.
We found out on the Friday morning, I have to say I didn’t sleep very well on the Thursday night, I don’t think any of us did to be honest. Then it was a case of waking up at about 8:45am and refreshing my emails until 9am. When you see the first line says ‘Selected’ and not ‘Standby’ it’s a huge relief, then you start looking for who else is there and on the plane and who’s missing.
Then you start getting the messages, all the girls are sending each other messages, parents, friends etc. I had to go training that morning too which was nice because there were a lot of congratulations and of course one or two disappointments. One of my closest friends Raff [Claire Rafferty] wasn’t selected but we have no control over who goes, as much as you dream all your best mates can go with you, it’s Mark’s decision at the end of the day and Raff was very supportive.
It’s a long six weeks, we have games to play and you never know what will happen so I’m sure she’ll be ready if asked to step in, as will everyone else not in the squad. Sometimes you have a good feeling about whether you’ll be in the squad but this time it was really nervy for me, I said to Laura Bassett that I had a real feeling I wouldn’t be in the squad so it’s a huge relief.
We put it out to the group about how we’d rather find out and we decided an email was the best way of going about it, but Mark said anyone not chosen could ring him or meet him to ask questions. He’s very open and honest about things so I’m sure a few probably wanted to know what they can do next time and why they might have missed out this time.
Every manager at the end of the day makes their decisions, however early or late it is. Mark has a real clear way of thinking and he knows he’ll live or die by his decisions. If I hadn’t been picked I’m sure I would have thought about the eight games ahead where I couldn’t prove myself, but I’m also sure he wants to give the best possible chance to the 23 he’s selected to focus on the Euros.
After the Austria game, the last words he said to us were “This is it, this is the team” and that’s something he’s never been able to do. As a player you can prepare mentally, you can look around at the other players and take it all in that this is the group you’re going with. Now we have the chance every day to prepare ourselves, it’s on our own shoulders to make sure we’re in the best physical and mental state possible by the time we get to Holland.
He’s always been a clear thinker, if something goes wrong he’ll take it on the chin and he hasn’t done much wrong yet so hopefully that continues into the summer. He’ll probably get hung out to dry if it doesn’t go well but he’s made that decision and we have to go with it. People can talk about whether it’s right or wrong, it’s so different to what’s gone on before but he believes what he’s got right now is the right team to go and win the tournament.
He always wanted to do it early, we just helped facilitate when would be best for the players to find out and it coincided nicely with the two games against Italy and Austria. Mark thinks about everything, he thinks about tactics, the technical side, their personality and he looks at all those boxes when selecting his squad.
He sits down with his staff, people like Marieanne Spacey and Lee Kendall, and looks at everything. Nutrition, psychology, fitness and a whole bunch of things he needs to tick all the boxes for. If there’s any ifs, buts or maybes then he’ll pick the players who tick the most boxes and the players he believes he can have ready to kick-off against Scotland in July.
Players can now start looking after themselves going into the summer, manage their fitness but either way you look at it, there were always going to be some disappointments whatever happens.
You can follow Carly on Twitter at @carlytelford1