FORMER England No.1 Rachel Brown-Finnis has backed Birmingham City Ladies star Karen Carney to take the Women’s World Cup by storm and help guide the Three Lionesses past the quarter-finals for the first time.
Solihull-born Carney is more than used to performing on the big stage after being called up to the Euro 2005 squad aged just 17.
The Birmingham winger has since matured into a key cog in the midfield and played a major part in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup campaigns.
However, devastating last-eight exits to USA and France respectively left England reeling, but Brown-Finnis, who racked up 82 international caps herself before retiring in January, insists 27-year-old Carney is primed and ready to perform on the biggest stage.
“Karen Carney came into the England squad as a young 17-year-old in Euro 2005, so she knows how it is to play in front of big crowds and what it is like to have a lot of responsibility put on her,” said Brown-Finnis.
“She’s a much more mature player now, both on and off the pitch, she’s got so many caps, played in so many tournaments – and been the star of the show at a lot of those as well.
“She’s had a few injuries and maybe that’s why her club form hasn’t been at its best, but she can bring so much and I’ve no doubt she will shine and really pull it out, she’s got a lot of determination and she doesn’t leave anything on the pitch.
“She’s one of those gritty players who you would always want on your team domestically and internationally. She’s a pacey winger, she’ll take on the best in the world, so I’m excited to see her back to full form.”
England opened their World Cup Group F campaign with a narrow 1-0 defeat against familiar foes France on Tuesday.
But Brown-Finnis, who featured in two World Cups, hopes England can bounce back and progress into the last eight.
“I would love England to make it beyond the quarter-finals – that was our stumbling block in 2007 and 2011, the World Cups I played in,” added Finnis-Brown.
“We’ve seen loads of upsets in men’s and women’s football, and I’d love England to get beyond the quarter-finals, and that’s what they will aim for.
“You always need a little bit of luck going into those quarter-finals, we’ve been knocked out on penalties in the past – so I’m sure they’ll have been practising their penalties ahead of this tournament.”
Energy providers SSE are the new title sponsors of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, investing in the provision and profile of girls and Women’s football as part of ground-breaking four-year deal