This week Alex talks about England's training camp in La Manga, Euro 2013 and why the FA should host an England women's match at Wembley...
I don't think we could have chosen a better week for our training camp in La Manga. While the whole country was snowed under, us England girls were out in Spain preparing for the year ahead.
The weather wasn’t particularly hot there, of course, but it was still nice to train with the sun out. It was a similar situation when I used to play for the Boston Breakers. Come winter and we would escape the cold chill of New England and head down to Florida for warm weather training.
As I said last week, La Manga is a week that many of the England girls dread. We get really put through the wringer with two double training sessions every day.
Some would call it a necessary evil as we try to shake off the cobwebs of Christmas and new year, but I must admit that I actually quite enjoy it. What’s more — and I should whisper this quietly — I found this year’s camp easier than in previous years. I just hope our manager Hope Powell doesn’t read that!
In all seriousness, it was great to get back into the team environment with the England girls. All of us have the same aim this year — doing the best we can at the European Championships, which take place in Sweden in July.
We got to the final in 2009, losing to Germany, and I think all of us are desperate to go that crucial step further this year.
Last week’s camp was important to focus everyone’s minds on the next six months. For people looking in from the outside these trips probably sound glamorous, but it’s not at all. We eat, train, rest and sleep — with the odd ice bath thrown in for good measure — but there’s not much else to it than that really.
We played two behind-closed-doors matches, one against the Swiss national team and another against a local men’s team.
Hope didn’t set us any specific goals for the year, but we all have the shared desire to win a major tournament. We have a tough group at Euro 2013, where we’ll face Spain, Russia and France.
We’ve never beaten the French and the Spanish are a really talented team. When we played Russia in 2009 when we came from two goals down to win.
Overall I feel positive for the future. I think this is the best England squad that I’ve been a part of in my eight years of playing for the national side. We’re one of the best teams in Europe so there’s no reason why we can’t have a successful tournament.
It’s a big year for the women’s game in Britain generally. We need to make the most of the extra exposure we had at the Olympics, where Wembley was sold-out for the Team GB women’s match against Brazil.
As far as I’m aware the England women’s team has never played there and I’d like to see us play at the national stadium this year.
I think women are fighting in all sports, and in the workplace, to be treated equally, and maybe if we can win a championship final that will push our case on even further.
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