'Wembley Stadium game a chance to thank family and fans'
Georgia Stanway believes games like England women’s match at Wembley Stadium on Saturday is a chance to give back to the players’ families following all their sacrifices to make the dream occasion possible and is also an opportunity to thank the fans.
This weekend England women’s senior team will play their first competitive match at Wembley Stadium when they take on Northern Ireland.
Whilst some in the squad, such as Stanway, have played at the famous ground before, either during the Lionesses’ match with Germany in November 2019 or for their club, the Manchester City midfielder believes having a competitive fixture at Wembley is a big moment for the growth of the women’s game in this country.
“It’s a massive step,” Stanway said.
“It just shows the direction that women’s football is going and that if we can continue to grow that fan base, it’ll continue to get bigger and bigger. That’s what we want; we want to continue entertaining fans, bringing money into the game and then getting it as big as the men’s game if possible.”
Stanway was a 77th-minute substitute when England played Germany in front of 77,768 fans at Wembley Stadium in November 2019.
And the 22 year old played a huge role at the same venue in both the 2017 and 2020 Vitality Women’s FA Cup Finals, scoring in both matches.
She said: “When you’re looking to the stands and you see your family, it’s an opportunity for them to experience such an unbelievable day and give back for their sacrifices, too.”
“I’d also like to say thanks to the fans for sticking with us during the lockdown,” Stanway said.
“Obviously it wasn’t easy for us, it wasn’t easy for them, but we can get their support back in the stands now.”
Stanway was speaking as part of an interview which will be included in Saturday’s matchday programme and you can order your copy – regardless of whether you plan to attend or not – for £5.99, which includes delivery.
The match with Northern Ireland comes a week after the FA launched its Let Girls Play campaign, which supports our strategic ambition to give all girls equal access to play football in school by 2024.
Only 63 per cent of schools currently offer girls’ football in PE lessons and our ambition, as seen in the women’s and girls’ Inspiring Positive Change strategy, is to have 75 per cent of schools providing equal access to football for girls in PE lessons by 2024.
The Let Girls Play campaign will inspire and empower communities and schools to want to help make change, unlocking equal opportunities for girls to participate in the sport.
And Stanway said: “It’s unbelievable, I wish they had a programme like that when I was growing up and that I had the opportunity to play with girls as well. There were no girls’ teams around my area.”
Find out more about the Let Girls Play campaign here and if you want to attend Saturday’s match with Northern Ireland, then tickets are just £20 for adults and £2.50 for children.