According to Tom Dean,when you hear the name Natasha Dowie, the list of potential conversation topics seems endless but there’s one running theme throughout them all; goals.
The evergreen striker has roamed the world engraving her name on the scoresheet wherever she’s played and enjoyed somewhat of a rollercoaster career thus far.
The highs of FA Cup and league titles with Everton and Liverpool respectively have been equally matched by a shunning at international level and the folding of previous clubs Doncaster Rovers Belles and Boston Breakers.
‘Regret’ however is not a word you’ll find in Dowie’s vocabulary and, as becomes clear while speaking to The Offside Rule Podcast, she’s more philosophical about her career of late.
The 32-year-old joined AC Milan in the summer and has hit the ground running scoring five in her first six Serie A outings as the Rossonere attempt to break Juventus’ hold on the division.
“I love a new challenge and luckily for me I’ve been able to win things, play Champions League football and now have big aspirations to do the same here in Milan,” she said.
“When you go to a new country, you are a fresh face and nobody knows you. They might of heard about you and know a few bits about you but it’s a whole new challenge to show people how good you are.”
Italy marks the sixth different country in a career that has taken Dowie from England to America, Sweden, Norway and Australia but it was only in the latter that she was able to lift silverware on foreign soil.Embed from Getty Images
Milan have started the season well under the guidance of former Inter, Milan and Atalanta striker Maurizio Ganz, losing just one league game at the hands of champions Juventus, and Dowie is in great form.
But she’s not the type of player to rest on her laurels and still believes there is room for improvement despite being one of the finest goalscorers of her generation.
“Even now I am asking my manager what he used to do when he was a professional.
“This guy has played with the likes of Ronaldo so I am asking him to do different finishing sessions with me because I’m not perfect and I still think I’ve got a lot to improve on.
“Until I retire I want to be learning something new every single day.”
When looking back at her career so far it’s hard to believe that a player with such goalscoring pedigree has never represented her country at a major tournament and only has 14 appearances and 5 goals to her name.
On the face of things Dowie does indeed have a case to feel aggrieved at the way her international career panned out having been shown the exit door by first Hope Powell and Mark Sampson.
Dowie finished the 2013 WSL season as a title winner, top scorer and players’ player of the year so fans were baffled by Powell’s decision to leave her out of the Euro 2013 squad.
The striker is still none the wiser herself: “Was I the type of player she liked? Maybe not. Was I a bit more outspoken than other players? Who knows. But I have no regrets.
“The older I’ve got the easier it has got to take – maybe four or five years ago when I was scoring the goals I was scoring it was harder to understand.
“Every single England camp I was selected for – I gave 100 per cent because that is the type of person I am.
“I think if you speak to any teammate or manager that has worked with me, they would say I was the ultimate professional and never a problem to work with.”Embed from Getty Images
Despite the disappointment and controversy shrouding her England career, Dowie has not yet given up hope of a recall one day.
Nor does she have plans to retire anytime soon and is hoping she can match wife Becky Easton, whom she met during her Everton days, by playing on into her 40s.
And with a Champions League spot up for grabs this season and another Lionesses managerial change on the horizon, Milan could provide the perfect springboard for an international revival.
“It has made me even more determined to make the most of the club career though because of how my international career has been unfair – I’m not going to let that happen with my club career!
“I might be 32 now but I haven’t given up on my England career because I think I’m still good enough.
“I’m scoring goals in a competitive league and in my head I can still play for England and will never shy away from that.”
Follow Tom on Twitter @tombendean