ENGLAND SELECTION CAPS GEORGIA’S FAIRYTALE SEASON
For Georgia Allen her first call-up to the England Under-18s football team was the perfect way to bookend a season that dreams are made of.
Captaining Arsenal Under-17s to a domestic double in an unbeaten campaign as one of the youngest members of the team may have been good enough to live off in the canteen for some time to come at King Edwards VI School (KEGS) in Bury St Edmunds. But that proved to be only the beginning.
Selection for Arsenal Ladies quickly followed, while the Moreton Hall-based 17-year-old then found herself named among the substitutes as Pedro Martínez Losa’s side won the Continetal Cup (league cup) on Sunday.
After celebrating the cup triumph at Rotherham United’s New York Stadium, alongside the likes of Rachel Yankey, Kelly Smith and Casey Stoney, the central midfielder’s fairytale campaign entered another chapter when she was selected for a training camp with England Under-18s, which she passed.
“To be honest, it was not something I expected,” the KEGS Sixth Form pupil said about her graduation to the age group above with the national team. “Though I always aim to continue going up with the age groups of the FA representative teams.
“I won the FA (youth) Cup with the Arsenal Under-17s in May and the Continental Cup with Arsenal Ladies last week, so it has been an unbelievable journey and progression I’ve been on.”
Still showing she has her feet remaining firmly on the ground, Allen was quick to add that she ‘could not have done it without the support of my team-mates and the amazing coaches at Arsenal’.
While most of her fellow Under-17s’ double winners are now taking a well deserved break after the women’s regular season ended, Allen has further goals to achieve on the pitch, with the international training camps and round-robin tournaments, more training matches than World Cup or European Championship style competitions, only just beginning.
She said: “I have been to three camps already for the under-18s and each time you have to do enough to be selected for the next one, so it’s nice to know I’ve impressed a new set of coaches. And it’s nice to be able to continue with a few team-mates who I played with in the under-17s.”
She added of her Arsenal Under-17s’ campaign: “It was definitely a special moment (to lift both cups). I never thought about myself lifting it, I have to say I have never been part of such a class team.
“We had an unbeaten season and that created an unbelievable feeling.”
Her headteacher at KEGS, Geoff Barton, said his pupil’s story was helping to inspire younger students and clearly demonstrates to them what can be achieved through hard work and talent applied in a state school.
“Georgia just continues to inspire us with everything she does,” he said, “particularly younger students in combining sporting talent with academic success.”