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The Lionesses’ World Cup success in 2015 captured the hearts of millions, as Steph Houghton skippered Mark Sampson’s squad to the country’s highest-ever finish at the tournament.
Now, teenager Georgia Stanway has followed in her teammate’s footsteps, after leading the under-17s side to glory in the European Championships.
The young Lionesses earned a third-place finish, securing a spot at the World Cup in the process, and Stanway - alongside fellow Blue goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck - played a key role, scoring twice and creating six assists.
John Griffiths’ side swept aside Norway, Belarus and Serbia – with the 12-0 triumph over tournament hosts Belarus making history as the highest-scoring winning margin at the Euros – to set up a semi-final with Germany.
A seven-goal thriller in the last four encounter ended with the Germans booking their place in the final, but England responded with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Norway in the third-place play-off.
Skipper Stanway, who made her senior debut for City at 16, found the net on her second appearance and then scooped the Club’s Rising Star Award, is making a positive impact at every level – and she’s loving every minute.
“It’s pretty special,” she told mcfc.co.uk. “It’s an amazing achievement for us to have won a bronze medal at the Euros, especially when you look at the quality of our opposition, and to be able to go to a World Cup, which of course doesn’t happen often, is unbelievable.
“To win an international game, especially as captain, is an incredible feeling. I love it. The manager asked me to be captain for three of the games and it’s one of the best feelings you can have. To represent your country is a massive honour.
The striker also hailed her side’s ability to bounce back from their semi-final setback and spoke of her pride for their development.
She added: “We have a great team spirit and that really helped going into the Germany game and afterwards. We showed a lot of character to respond against Norway.
“Playing against Germany is always tough. We played against them in December and lost 1-0 so we knew they were a dangerous side. To score three goals against them shows how far we’ve come as a team.
“The defeat did shake us a little but as soon as the next fixture was announced, we rallied and put everything into winning it – otherwise, it would have been the last time we’d play together as a group.
“One day, perhaps at the World Cup, we could play Germany again and I think we could get a result.”
Now back on home soil, Stanway heads straight back into Club duty for City’s crucial Super League clash against Chelsea on Thursday.
The forward is looking forward to reuniting with the Blues, who were cheering her on from Manchester.
“I had a lot of support while I was out there,” she declared. “The City girls were texting me and encouraging me.
“After the Germany game, they were telling me to focus on getting the World Cup spot and we went out there and did it.
“Everyone sent their congratulations and we were all absolutely buzzing.
“We’ve got a big game against Chelsea now and I’ll be in contention. Hopefully, we can go there and get what would be a massive result.”
It was six of the best for Manchester City Women, as the Blues sailed six points clear at the top of the Super League table with a thumping of Doncaster Belles.
With the Club having reached its milestone in super-quick time, Chairperson Sarah Bland expressed her delight.
Manchester City Women returned to the top of the Super League table with a 2-0 win at Sunderland.