Carney hoping to make it a night to remember on Wednesday...
KAREN Carney hopes Banks’s Stadium will be the venue where the nation’s increasing love for women’s football will continue to flourish.
Birmingham City and England ace Carney was a key member of the Team GB women’s squad at London 2012 and she was delighted to see bumper crowds at all their matches – in Cardiff, Wembley and Coventry.
But now her focus will shift from the Olympics to the European Championship, as England prepare to take on Croatia right here in Walsall on Wednesday and a victory for Hope Powell’s side will seal their place at Euro 2013.
“The Olympics was the best experience of my life,” began Carney. “The whole nation got behind us and got behind the women’s tournament in general and I think we helped to change a lot of people’s perception of women’s football.
“I think that shows how much the game has progressed. The Olympics proved that women’s football has got a really big following in this country so I’d like to think that we’d get a good crowd at Walsall.
“It’s a really important game for us. If we win it we qualify for the Euros and that would be another opportunity for us to promote women’s football, so a big crowd at Banks’s Stadium could help us do that.”
European Championship qualification is clearly Carney’s focal point, but on a personal note, the Birmingham-born bag of tricks is relishing the chance to play for England so close to home.
“Walsall is just up the M6 from me so it’s great for me to be playing for my country so close to where I live,” she added. “I have played there twice before. It’s a great stadium, they’ve got a great pitch and I’m looking forward to going there again.
“Hopefully we can get the three points we need to make it to the Euros.”
£10 for a Family Ticket, £5 for adults, £2.50 for U16s and over 65s. U12s are free with a paying, accompanying adult. You can purchase from the Banks's Stadium Ticket Office or by telephone on 01922-651 414/416.
SQUAD IN FULL
Karen Bardsley (Linköping), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), Carly Telford (Chelsea).
Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Dunia Susi (Chelsea).
Anita Asante (Göteborg), Jess Clarke (Lincoln Ladies), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal).
Eniola Aluko (Birmingham City), Toni Duggan (Everton), Kelly Smith (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Birmingham City).