FOOTBALL: SOLIHULL born Karen Carney can’t wait to make a West Midlands return later this month when England face Bosnia & Herzegovina at Walsall’s Banks’s Stadium.
England will play their second World Cup qualifying game on November 24, and the former Birmingham City Ladies winger believes a home crowd will provide a special boost when the Lionesses take to the field.
The 30-year-old revealed a fiery passion for football displayed by regional supporters ignited her love for the game, and she can’t wait to play in front of a ‘home’ crowd.
She said: “They’re massive football fans and there’s a lot of teams and history around the midlands.
“I was a mascot for Birmingham as an eight-year-old for my birthday, being a football team mascot isn’t every eight-year-old girl’s birthday wish – it especially wasn’t 22 years ago.
“I have to give credit to my parents that I was lucky enough that they took me to do that and I just fell in love with the game and how it brings people together.
“I wanted to walk out with Steve Claridge because he was my idol and I managed to have a photo with him and walked out with him so it was pretty special.”
Should she play, it will not be the first time Carney has graced the turf of the home of the Saddlers in an England jersey.
Carney has played at Walsall’s home ground twice before, a 3-0 win over Croatia in 2012 but it was a 4-1 win over Czech Republic back in 2005 that sticks most fondly in her mind.
“It’s a nice compact stadium, I like it, you’re close to the fans and it’s quite an intimate ground,” she added.
“It’s special because a lot of your family members can come, it’s not too far so you’ve got that local support.”
Visit www.thefa.com/tickets to buy tickets for England’s home game against Bosnia & Herzegovina.