Bethany England is optimistic the launch of the Premier League season won’t distract soccer followers from the Lionesses’ quest to carry a maiden World Cup.
The European champions kick off their Colombia quarter-final at 11:30am UK time on Saturday, one hour earlier than Arsenal and Nottingham Forest start their new campaigns on the Emirates.
The Lionesses’ last-16 conflict in opposition to Nigeria was watched by over 5 million folks on BBC TV, whereas match organisers have mentioned they’re on monitor to achieve an viewers of two billion viewers worldwide.
— Lionesses (@Lionesses) August 10, 2023
Ahead England mentioned: “It’s vital that we preserve, I feel as we’ve seen over the previous couple of years and for the reason that Euros particularly the quantity of numbers which have grown within the girls’s sport and other people’s curiosity and viewing numbers.
“I feel hopefully we are able to nonetheless interact the followers sufficient to need to watch us and I do know there’s lots of people which have turned to girls’s soccer as a result of they’ve loved watching us. It’s not simply because the lads aren’t taking part in.
“So hopefully we are able to proceed that as a result of we need to guarantee that these viewing numbers are as excessive as attainable, whether or not they select to observe the lads’s sport or not.
“We will’t have an effect on that. I feel finally we’re going to go and try to put out our greatest efficiency and provides the followers one thing to observe, and that they may need to preserve coming again and watching us.”
England was a part of Sarina Wiegman’s squad who lifted the Euro 2022 trophy final summer time, a end result that captivated the nation and launched an unprecedented, record-breaking season of attendance and viewing figures for the Girls’s Tremendous League (WSL) and sold-out worldwide contests at Wembley.
The European closing passed off on July 31, a number of weeks earlier than the opening weekend of the Premier League.
England, 29, left Chelsea for Tottenham in January and completed because the WSL’s third-best goal-scorer behind solely England team-mate Rachel Daly and Jamaica captain Khadija Shaw, whose facet had been crushed 1-0 by the Lionesses’ South American Saturday rivals Colombia.
England did sufficient to face out to Wiegman, and never simply to earn a ticket to Australia.
The Spurs striker has thus far twice been rewarded with taking part in time instead, and transformed a vital spot-kick in opposition to Nigeria within the Lionesses’ dramatic 4-2 win on penalties.
England added: “I used to be in that state of affairs final summer time the place I didn’t play and it was robust, however for me, this match has been very a lot totally different and it’s been an incredible feeling, and a really proud second for me to have been in a position to have stepped onto the pitch for my nationwide staff in a serious match.
“And I feel it’s vital, I bear in mind having this dialog with a number of the women the opposite day, that you simply suppose it’s the top of the world since you’ve not performed your half, however you’re all taking part in your half. And that’s precisely what I needed to be taught from myself final yr, was that it might sound on the time prefer it’s actually troublesome however it actually is value it.”
A World Cup quarter-final appears a universe away from England’s early days.