Keira Walsh: 'It makes the players feel really special'
Keira Walsh and Jordan Nobbs discuss England Women's new kit and what it means to see young kids wearing shirts with their names on the back
Keira Walsh believes England Women’s new kit ‘really represents us as a nation’ and said seeing her name on the back of shirts is ‘something I will never take for granted because it is such a special feeling.’
The new Lionesses home and away kit were first revealed in April, before being used in the matches with Brazil and Australia during the days to follow.
The kits then went on sale this morning via our online England store, Nike.com, and the Nike app, with additional marketplace partners following on Thursday.
“I really like the new kits,” Walsh said. “The home kit is just classic, very England. That is what we love about it. It really represents us as a nation.
“The away kit is really retro and really cool. I can see people wearing that out. It isn’t just a football top for me, it is quite fashionable and something different. It is so nice.
“Having our own kit launch and the excitement of it being an England Women’s kit, it makes the players feel really special.
“When you see the young boys and girls wearing the England Women’s kit, it is such a nice feeling because going back ten or 20 years, they would have only worn the men’s kit. It is such a massive symbol of where women’s football is going.
“When I was a kid, I would be wearing kits where the shorts would be down to my knees and you just don’t feel as physical or move the same way. So as professional sportswomen, it is important that our kit fits properly.”
The new kits also received the thumbs up from Walsh’s fellow midfielder Jordan Nobbs, who added: “Whenever you get new kit it is nice but with this kit, with the white and the blue, it is really nice.
“It is often said that if you look good, then you feel good and if you feel good, then you play better.”
In the past, England Women’s teams would wear the same kit as the men’s side before the decision was made to ensure the Lionesses had their own bespoke kit.
Inspired by Wembley Stadium’s 100th anniversary this year, and the art deco movement which was thriving when the ground was built, the two kits have been inspired by the colour, patterns and gradients of that time, which you can learn more about here.
England’s home kit will see the team wear ‘gym blue’ shorts (with the away being ‘coast blue with a gym blue trim’), partly due to concerns around players having to wear white shorts while on their periods.
Kit manufacturer Nike has also included a leak-protection liner following athletes’ feedback.
And Walsh said: “For us as women, it is really important we feel comfortable while playing. You don’t want to have to be concerned about your shorts while you are playing or at half-time. As professional sportswomen we want to just focus on the match and the tactics.
“It is one less thing to worry about and we can just focus on the game and not how we look.
“For us it was a massive step in the right direction and hopefully other women’s teams can follow and make sure the players feel as comfortable as we will be.”
As well as the two kits, the new blue and light pink training apparel has also been launched.
“It is nice to refresh the whole feel of the group,” Nobbs said. “It is a bit more girly than our last one but it is nice. It is bold and the colours are really good.”
For Nobbs, her first football shirt came on holiday as a seven-year-old and she grew up ‘living’ in England kits as a child.
For Walsh, hers was a Manchester City shirt she received as a Christmas present around the age of four or five.
But whilst Walsh grew up with the likes of Nicolas Anelka, David Silva and Gareth Barry on the back of her City shirts, visit an England Women’s game now and you see young girls, boys and adults with the likes of Walsh and Nobbs on their back.
Nobbs said: “The number of fans the Lionesses have now and the number of people you see with England Women’s team shirts with the players’ names on the back, it is an unbelievable feeling and a sign of the direction the game has gone in.
New kit unboxed by Keira and Leah
The Lionesses pair take their first look at the new England kits, training and leisurewear
“People wearing the England Women’s shirt is almost like an advertisement to say ‘we love the women’s game’.
“Obviously, it is more important that people wear whatever they are happy in to our games but it is nice to see it and have that feeling when we see them wearing our shirts.”
“On a personal level, it still feels crazy to see shirts with my name on,” Walsh added. “When I was younger, I never thought that would happen.
“Because I play with such inspirational women, and women who make me feel so proud to be a part of it, when I see my team-mates’ names on the back of their shirts, I think it is no less than they deserve and no less than what women’s football deserves.
“For me personally, it is still an unbelievably proud moment and something I will never take for granted because it is such a special feeling.”
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