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Boldness is needed if women’s football in England is to fulfil its potential | Suzanne Wrack

FA’s decision to hold World Cup qualifiers games in football outposts misses opportunity to build on the high profile enjoyed by the Lionesses at Euro 2017

It was impossible not to be inspired by the fight of the England Lionesses in Euro 2017. From the grit against possession-heavy France and Spain, to the goalscoring heroics of golden boot winner Jodie Taylor. The huge disappointment that Mark Sampson’s side did not come home clasping silverware, as the highest-ranked side left in play at the penultimate round, is balanced by pride in England’s second consecutive semi-final at a major tournament. That pride is easy, this team feels like a side not far off making that crucial final leap.

With investment and participation on the up, FA commitment to further growth, and clubs seeing both the financial and social benefits of thriving women’s teams, we can rightfully be hopeful that these factors will yield greater success on the pitch in years to come. At present, few, if any, England internationals have played professionally for the entirety of their career. With professionalisation increasing across the Women’s Super League — with some exceptions illustrating that it’s not all plain sailing; Sunderland recently reverted to part-time status — we are heading towards a new era for women’s football in England. One where young girls will be able to aspire to play professionally from and young age, and do it. With their pathway through to the national senior side now mapped out by thriving youth teams, there is a bigger pool of talent to pick from.

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