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Published 08 April 2023 4 min read
England Women's Senior Team

England players visit Discover My Talent event

Written by:

David Gerty

Surprise visit for talented youngsters in west London as Lionesses prepare for game in Brentford


Fresh from their Women’s Finalissima success at Wembley Stadium, the England squad paid a surprise visit to see the next generation of aspiring Lionesses put through their paces.

The players and technical staff joined more than 100 girls aged between 12–15 on Saturday morning as they participated in a Discover My Talent showcase event at Brentford Football Club’s Community Sports Trust in west London’s Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub.

The visit had been kept a surprise and the Lionesses, preparing for Tuesday’s prestigious international with Australia at Brentford FC following their victory on penalties against Brazil on Thursday, interacted with the girls as they took part in various talent identification sessions.

Discover My Talent was launched in August 2021 and is a key part of England Football's approach to identifying and developing talented female players. The programme works to identify talent for the England talent pathway and development teams regardless of their geographical location, background, or community.

The players aiming to impress the FA’s talent staff in today’s session had been nominated across multiple playing environments, including grassroots clubs, schools and community environments, and Emerging Talent Centres.
Sarina Wiegman signs an autograph for a young fan
Sarina Wiegman signs an autograph for a young fan
Supported by Sport England and UEFA HatTrick funding, the Discover My Talent programme is seeing a step-change in how talent is unearthed. Of the 1000s of referrals being made through the programme, 356 players to date have been identified as a real talent of interest, whilst 75 players referred through Discover My Talent are now part of a group of players being considered for squad selection for England Teams between the age of U15–U17.

We recently announced changes to the women’s and girls’ player pathway with the introduction of up to 70 Emerging Talent Centres and FA Professional Game Academies. The changes, announced in February, were designed to unearth the very best talent in England while also making the game more diverse, accessible and inclusive.

Kay Cossington, FA’s women’s technical director, said: “Discover My Talent is an integral part of our work to make our game more diverse, inclusive, accessible and more reflective of wider society.

“Every player’s journey is uniquely different and our aspiration with this programme is to help address some of the historic challenges many have faced when accessing the game. Our ask is simple, if you see a talented young female player in any environment in any part of the country, then refer them and they will be assessed. We’re already seeing players from all backgrounds nominated as part of Discover My Talent play a key part in our England development teams.”
England captain Leah Williamson was on hand to meet young players at the event
England captain Leah Williamson was on hand to meet young players at the event

Speaking of the surprise visit, Cossington said: “We’re lucky to have a squad of not only great players but great people and you can really see their love and commitment to the development and growth of the women’s game on days like this. They’re clearly an inspiration to the next generation, it will live long in the memory for the girls who were here today.”

Leah Williamson, England captain said: “It is important girls know there is a ladder to climb to where they want to go to. The easiest way to see yourself achieving your dream is to know how to get there and the Discover My Talent programme will hopefully really help them.

"The talent that would have perhaps previously gone unnoticed in the women’s game, because no one was looking for it, will hopefully be the next step in increasing accessibility and diversity, making sure we are reaching everyone who has talent and not just those who are fortunate enough to get into places to show it.”

To refer a player for assessment as part of the Discover My Talent programme, click here.