Beth flies out to World Cup

by Claire Forrester

Sunderland Ladies striker called up to England U20 squad.

Sunderland Ladies’ prolific striker Beth Mead will fly out to Canada this week having been selected to represent England in the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup.

The talented teenager will miss Sunderland Ladies’ vital clash with Doncaster Rovers Belles this weekend as she prepares for England’s first game on August 6 against Korea Republic. England then face Mexico on August 9 and Nigeria on August 13.

The Whitby-born striker has earned a reputation for being a natural goalscorer having netted 59 goals in Sunderland’s last two seasons in the National Premier League. The goals have continued this season and she is currently on seven goals in 11 games.

Following in the footsteps of several England players who began their careers with Sunderland, Beth is looking forward to the chance to shine on the world stage. 

“I was over the moon when I found out that I had been selected, but at the same time shocked. I'm one of the 21 girls selected to represent my country, it's surreal. 

"Of course it's a new challenge and new stepping stone in my career and I intend to grab the opportunity with both hands. I love playing so every game is going to be an exciting game for me, it's the World Cup!”

Historically England have not been as successful as they would have liked at U20 level but there are high hopes for this group which includes talented Everton forward Nikita Parris and Beth, who have both been highlighted as key players for the side.

“We have a very strong side and if everyone performs to their full ability we are a force to be reckoned with,” says Beth, who admits that such individual praise adds an element of pressure. “Having that added expectation upon me adds a bit of pressure but that can be good and is something that motivates me.

“Whatever happens, I won’t let it affect me in a negative way. We have a whole host of unbelievable players to watch out for who are young but experienced players. So keep your eyes open and hopefully watch us all perform to our full potential.”

Watching with interest will be Beth’s Sunderland team-mates who will no doubt miss her on the pitch whilst she is on England duty. “I am gutted to be missing Sunderland games,” she admitted. 

“I want to do everything I can to help the team get promoted into WSL 1 but I know we have a great team and they will do me proud and hopefully win. I will be rooting for them all the way from Canada and I will be keeping a sharp eye on Twitter!”

England games will be shown live on British Eurosport.