Chelsea Women and England goalkeeper Carly Telford is set to represent the Lionesses in her third Women’s World Cup having made her senior international debut in 2007.
As part of the build-up to the tournament in France, we spoke to the experienced player…
How excited are you to be going to the World Cup?
‘It’s a huge honour, I think this one is maybe a little bit different for a lot of us because the build-up towards it is huge. There is a lot more attention on us due to the fact that we won bronze last time and went out in such unfortunate circumstances. We were unlucky not to go all the way.
‘We have just come off the back of the SheBelieves Cup and a successful campaign so it’s a position we’ve not been in before, usually we just go out there and it’s kind of like let’s see how far we can get. The focus is usually on the Germanys and USAs.
‘Everyone keeps saying it’s the biggest women’s football tournament, if not women’s sports tournament in the world, so to be part of that is pretty exciting and also an amazing opportunity.’
What do you make of the teams in your group?
‘It’s an exciting group. We’re very lucky to see the quality that Scotland has, a lot of us have either played with or against some of the players so we know the quality that they have and how much ambition they have got and how honoured they are to represent Scotland.
‘They are a very passionate country. My grandad is Scottish and I know how passionate he is about Scotland. I’m thrilled that they are there, a lot of the girls thought that they would not make a major tournament and for them to be able to go to a World Cup and represent Scotland is fantastic.
‘We know what they are going to bring and I don’t think the Euros was a fair reflection on what that squad is about, so I know they will be looking to change that this World Cup.
‘Argentina are kind of unknown. They have got some really good players but in unknown quantity. I think they have had some poor results recently which probably didn’t show a true reflection of what they can actually do.
‘We’re also going to be playing against Japan who once were world champions so it’s a really exciting group. I don’t think this time round there is an easy group. Once upon a time if you got a couple of weaker teams you knew you would be able to rotate but I think for the first time ever every team going out there is strong one way or another.
‘Most teams have players playing all over the world and have players that are playing in a full-time environment now and I do think genuinely that our group will be really exciting to watch.’
Favourite World Cup memory?
‘One of my favourites is of me and Jill Scott – we have been friends since we were 13 years old - and in 2007 we both got that World Cup call-up call, and I remember us both ringing each other being so excited that we were going because it was unexpected.
‘The memories we made in Canada were fantastic. Probably beating Canada in the quarter-final in front of 56,000 Canadians will be one I’ll never forget. Then the third-place play-off, how do you top beating Germany at a major tournament, it doesn’t happen very often for many English teams, let alone a women’s football team.
‘Obviously I’d have loved to be on the football pitch for some of my memories and that might change in this tournament, but then again it might not. Whatever part I play you can never take away those memories or feelings which I’ve had in the past.’
Friends and family coming over?
‘Yes of course, we all have a really good group, a lot of the girls’ friends and families go and we all just kind of end up being one big group of Lionesses with friends and family all supporting each other.’
Do you think you can go further than Canada 2015?
‘That’s the plan. When we went to Canada, Mark [Sampson] did prepare us to try and win that tournament and put us on a journey which was not really thought about. We knew we could go far but did we truly believe we could win that? There was a lot of stuff that was written in the stars and going our way and then unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.
‘But what Mark has created has only put us on this path and you can speak about Hope [Powell] the legacy she left. Both managers have allowed us to be in this position.
‘I’m not saying that Phil [Neville] has got the easy job, but Hope had a group where none of us were full-time, Mark had us when we were going through a transitional period and now Phil has us where we’re all professional footballers that range from 18 all the way through to 34.
‘Phil brings a winning mentality and a very Manchester United head into the dressing room when it comes to winning, but I’d like to think all three managers will play a part in us being successful ultimately.’
The Lionesses begin their World Cup campaign on 9 July against neighbours Scotland in Nice. Five days later they play Argentina in the north of France in Le Havre, and then finish off the group stages by facing Japan on 19 June back down in Nice.
All Women’s World Cup matches will be shown live across the BBC’s TV channel, radio, the Red Button and online.
Read: Road to the World Cup – Millie Bright