Rachel Daly welcomes normalcy with England after the post-Euro “whirlwind”

Rachel Daly welcomes normalcy with England after the post-Euro “whirlwind”

Rachel Daly welcomes normalcy with England after the post-Euro “whirlwind”

A month after lifting the Euro 2022 trophy, the British lionesses returned to St George’s Park on Wednesday with Rachel Daly admitting it was nice to get back to something close to normal after the whirlwind of life in recent weeks.

The buzz of England’s 2-1 overtime win over Germany in the Wembley final on 31 July has not faded yet, but the next goal is on the horizon as they resume their World Cup qualifying campaign at Austria on Saturday .

“It’s great to be back,” Daly said. “I was saying that life on the pitch seems more normal than off the pitch right now. It’s really nice to see everyone, to be around the group and the staff, especially after our great summer.

Rachel Daly sings during a fan celebration of England's victory at Euro 2022

Rachel Daly sings during a fan celebration of England’s victory at Euro 2022 (Aaron Chown / PA)

“It’s even better to see each other when we are most successful and look forward to returning. There is a great bond within the squad and I miss it when I’m away. “

Daly admitted that the full scale of what England had achieved became apparent to players only after the tournament, as they had not been able to appreciate the impact their success had had on the general public at the time. .

“During the European Championship we were in a kind of bubble,” said the new Aston Villa forward – and Lionesses full-back. “We haven’t seen much of the outside world.

“We had eyes when we went to matches and were surrounded by fans and media, but I don’t think we were aware of the impact it had on the nation.

“Getting out of it was a whirlwind. One minute we’re all living in a bubble together and the next minute it’s like you’re on Big Brother or the Island of Love. It is an incredible feeling to see that we have truly inspired the nation. “

After Austria, England will face Luxembourg in front of a sold out crowd at Stoke, knowing that their success in the Euro puts new levels of expectations on their shoulders.

“This one comes with the win, the one with the success,” Daly said. “He’s a target in the back, but the pressure is a privilege. We have to see it like this. Obviously there will be pressure on us.

“We are focused on winning the World Cup. We were delighted to win in the summer, we are European champions, but now the focus is on qualifying for the World Cup. We know what we need to do.

“Austria are a fantastic team. We saw it at the European Championships with how they played against us and against Germany. We find it hard on them. It will be an important match for us. “

Saturday’s match will also see England start life without Jill Scott and Ellen White, who have both announced their retirement from the European Championships, bringing with them 274 international caps.

This has opened the door for the likes of Lauren James, 20, and Ebony Salmon, 21, who have both been added to Sarina Wiegman’s team.

“Obviously it’s a devastating loss for us – two huge characters,” Daly said of Scott and White. “Two great players but even better human beings. If you could be surrounded by them every day, you would feel empowerment and support.

“They’re definitely missing and it’s definitely quieter without Jill. They are lacking as people and as players, but it opens up opportunities for young people. That’s how the game goes. “

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