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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Furness football ace Georgia has England on her mind

A TALENTED young Furness footballer is set to make her England debut next week.

Georgia Stanway has been scoring goals for fun for Blackburn’s Centre of Excellence under-15s team and now her sights are set on representing her country against the Republic of Ireland on Friday.

The pacy 13-year-old striker is hoping to get the nod for the match, which will be played at St George’s Park, the newly-opened home of the National Football Centre, in Burton-Upon-Trent.

Since being at Ewood Park, Georgia, a Dowdales School pupil, has banged in 30 goals for Blackburn against teams from other centres of excellence.

Her skills were spotted by England scouts, which led to her being invited to an Elite Performance Camp earlier this year.

She heads off to St George’s Park for a week-long camp next week, which culminates in the match against the Republic.

Georgia joined Blackburn 12 months ago after pestering her mother Joanne to go down to the famous Lancashire club.

“She went down for a full week trial, but after the first 50 minutes she had been asked to sign a contract, so they obviously liked her,” said Joanne.

“She has been with Blackburn for 12 months and through that time they’ve had England scouts at the centre of excellence games and she was picked up.”

Georgia has just signed a new 12-month contract with Blackburn and already harbours the ambition of representing England at senior level.

So far the England under-15s squad has been whittled down from 35 to 20. And Georgia has done remarkably well to reach this stage, as even if she does not get a start, she has another two years in that age group to achieve her goal.

“It’s a dream come true for her,” added Joanne.

“Everything she does, she puts 100 per cent in.

“She is one of those children and just loves her sport.

“To be included in that squad is an amazing feat.

“She may not get game play, but she might get on. I don’t know.

“She wants to play for England, she wants to play international open age women’s football.”

Barrow Sports Council and Cumbria Active Sports have been supportive of Georgia, who is equally excited about going to the new complex.

“She has had to make sacrifices to do things, but she wants to do that,” added her mam.

“Hopefully it will inspire others.”

Gemma Donnelly, Blackburn’s assistant under-15s coach and centre of excellence manager, said: “She’s very tenacious, she is small for her age and I believe she is one of the youngest to get into the England under-15s.

“She’s got a great attitude.

“I think she’s very gifted technically, she’s an all-rounder really.

“We are very lucky to have her.”

Georgia has been playing a number of roles both up front and wide at Rovers because of her blistering pace.

However, the coach believes the England set-up will prefer to play her in a forward role.

“She is very versatile and you need that at that age because she is still developing,” added Donnelly.

“She’s very good.

“She’s still very young, but the key thing is she willing to listen and willing to learn.

“Potentially if she embraces that attitude and continues with it, there is no reason for her not to go on and make it to the next England set-up.

“I know the England under-15s manager was really impressed with Georgia at the last camp that she went to.

“It’s her decision at the end of the day – but fingers crossed for her.”

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