Lionesses will defend their SheBelieves Cup title in America next month
Last Updated: 21/02/20 1:23pm
West Ham defender Grace Fisk says it is an exciting time to be part of the England Women’s set-up after receiving her first senior call-up from Phil Neville
West Ham defender Grace Fisk says it is “inspiring” England Women’s head coach Phil Neville is backing youth after receiving her first senior call-up.
The 22-year-old was named in a youthful 23-player squad on Tuesday for England’s defence of the SheBelieves Cup in American next month.
Fisk, who joined West Ham from the University of South Carolina in December, is one of six players in the squad who played at the FIFA U20 World Cup in 2018, where she captained England to bronze.
“Phil has always said he trusts the youth and invest time in the youth,” Fisk told Sky Sports News.
Phil Neville says the younger members of his England squad for the SheBelieves Cup deserve their chance to impress
“You can see that with his selections in the squad. It is really inspiring for us, the younger players like me who [have been] on the brink and pushing into it.
“They have got so many senior players who have had so many caps, so many experiences their knowledge and experience is invaluable so they are so important to the team.
“There is a lot of youth that are willing to put the work in and really challenge so it is an exciting time for England. I am excited to be a part of it.”
Grace Fisk (left) captained England at the U20 Women’s World Cup in 2018
Fisk admits she initially missed the call from Lionesses boss Neville in advance of the squad announcement and is still adjusting to the whirlwind nature of her arrival to the Women’s Super League, having studied for a degree in Criminal Justice in America.
She said: “When he told me I was speechless and didn’t have much to say. It was an amazing feeling.”
Fisk, who has started every match for Matt Beard’s West Ham side since her transfer, says she has received regular contact from Neville.
Fisk has earned her first senior England call-up
“When he first came to the job it was around the time we had the U20 World Cup so he was definitely taking an interest in us,” she said.
“Ever since I came back to England and the WSL after ever game he has been texting me and asking me how I am doing, how I feel the game[s] went.
“It has been a really good line of communication, especially with the assistant coach [Bev Priestman]. I had some good conversations with her.
“I have tried to be taking on board what they have been saying and trying to get better with every game.”
SheBelieves Cup fixtures
Date Fixture Location Thursday March 5 Spain vs Japan Orlando, Florida Thursday March 5 USA vs England Orlando, Florida Sunday March 8 Japan vs England Harrison, New Jersey Sunday March 8 USA vs Spain Harrison, New Jersey Wednesday March 11 England vs Spain Frisco, Texas Wednesday March 11 USA vs Japan Frisco, Texas
Fisk says Neville has challenged her to not just make up the numbers in the England squad at the four-team round-robin SheBelieves Cup, which will also feature World Cup winner USA, Japan and Spain.
Asked what her international goals are, Fisk replied: “Obviously it is my first call-up so I am grateful to be there but he has made it very clear that I am not there just be there.
“I am there to challenge [for a place].
“We have got the [Euro] U21s next year on home turf so that is what I am aspiring to be in. He has said this is the first step so I have got to go there challenge and compete every day in training.”
Neville says he’s excited after the appointment of Dawn Scott, highlighting the importance for bespoke programmes in women’s football
Fisk was playing college football in the US last year and is delighted with how she has settled into West Ham colours, even if their form has not been ideal with the visit of Liverpool on Sunday coming after three consecutive defeats.
“When I came I was coming mid-season with West Ham. I didn’t even know If I was going to be playing. I knew I would have to be challenging and work really hard in training.
“Obviously Matt (Beard) has put a lot of faith in me starting me in every game I have been in which has been really good for me and my confidence.
“That was one thing I wasn’t even sure about happening. To start and be playing 90 minutes every week is one thing but then also to get the call-up. I didn’t expect to get any of it that is for sure!”
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