Bethany England finished the 2019/20 season as Chelsea FC Women’s top scorer with 21 goals in all competitions. Today our number nine reflects on a fantastic campaign for her and the Blues, despite being cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 26-year-old had a superb season and played a key part in our title-winning campaign having hit 14 goals in 15 games in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, just two behind league top scorer Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal.
‘Obviously for us we would have rather seen the season out and won it in the proper fashion but ultimately this was out of our control,’ England says as she considers Chelsea being crowned the Women’s Super League winners.
‘No one could have predicted such a pandemic to come and change all that. The decision was out of our hands and the sporting outcome has given us the title.
‘For us the stats speak for themselves, we were undefeated in the league and we beat the top three teams so I think it’s more than deserved and I’m very proud of the team for that.’
England reveals what has been the key to her success in front of goal this term and her favourite type of goal to score.
‘I think it’s just all the hard work I’ve put in over the years has finally started to pay off,’ England reckons. ‘I’ve finally found my feet more in a natural position, I got more game time and with that grew more confidence.
‘My team-mates around me were confident in me and my abilities and I think it was just an overall build-up of what’s been coming over the last few years.
‘In a way I’m actually gutted because last season I came away with 22 goals and I said I was going to beat that this season but I have come away with 21 [in all competitions]. So if anything I’m disappointed with that but at the same time I’ll take one goal less and come away with two trophies this season!
‘Any goal is great for a striker but I’ve really enjoyed hitting some further-out goals this year.
‘One of my top goals has got to be the Birmingham goal when Millie [Bright] sent that big ball across to me, that’s definitely up there in my favourite goals of the season.’
England ensured the Blues made a winning start to the new campaign at Stamford Bridge with a spectacular strike against Tottenham Hotspur and from then on the England international went from strength to strength.
‘You can’t take away that feeling of scoring at Stamford Bridge in front of all them fans,’ she says.
‘The minute I hit it I knew it was going in, I’ve never been shy of trusting my left foot, I think I score more goals with my left than I do my right foot.
‘I said to my family and Emma [Hayes] that I wanted a good start to the season and I think that goal just set the tone from the off really for me.
‘There were a lot of pressures putting on that nine shirt following some of the players who have had it before me in the past. It was a statement to say that I’m a number nine and I’m not here to mess about and let’s get down to business.
‘That goal set the tone for the season and everything else kind of followed suit really and I’m glad it’s been such a tremendous season, not just for myself but for everyone involved with the club.’
The forward was also key to our Continental Cup final success in February having netted both goals in our dramatic 2-1 victory over Arsenal.
‘It was a big aim for us this season so to take that home was phenomenal. We set out to win trophies this year and we secured two of them.
‘To get that Conti Cup win and celebrate it before all this COVID-19 madness was a blessing.’
England is already excited about the prospect of what next season will bring and has high hopes that her team will reach the 2020/21 Champions League final.
‘It’s massive, that was the main aim this year to get back into the Champions League after we had such a good run in it the year before.
‘We have got such a strong squad with the depth and I’m just excited to see where it goes. I’m really enjoying my partnership with Sam [Kerr] since she’s come in, I love playing with her and I think she’s a really good team player.
‘It will be interesting when Fran [Kirby] is back fit, it will be really good for us and will bring a lot of good competition for the team.
‘I can’t wait for next season already and hopefully we finally get to that Champions League final that we’ve been dreaming of.’