Vauxhall Training with Mark Sampson, Marianne Spacey & Jade Moore

Training session with Vauxhall, the England team sponsor

Last week, we were very lucky to be asked by Vauxhall England to join them at St. George’s Park for a training session with Mark Sampson, Marianne Spacey and Jade Moore. Situated on the David Beckham pitch, the England coaches and Jade put us through our paces as we discovered what a typical England training session, albeit a much easier and simpler one, would be like. One thing we learned, Marianne Spacey might be renowned for her attacking prowess but she makes a pretty fine goalkeeper.

It was only a fortnight ago that England secured their place at next year’s World Cup in Canada after a 4-0 win over Wales. It has been a hugely successful and morale boosting qualifying campaign with nine wins from nine, 42 goals scored and only one conceded. After the session, we got the chance to catch up with an understandably delighted Mark Sampson and Jade Moore.

[Mark Sampson and Jade Moore speaking at a training session with Vauxhall, the England team sponsor]

GOTB: Congratulations on qualifying. How have you found the qualifying campaign?  

MS: Thank you! The objective is always to qualify and if you can qualify before your last game, you’re going to be more than happy. Certainly it was the objective for us to play as well as we cane, qualify as soon as we can and the shift our focus to the World Cup. We have to pay attention to the work that Brent [Hills] did and the players did before more; they really put us in a great position.

JM: We have really enjoyed it. It’s probably not been the best group to test us but it’s been a really positive campaign. We have gained plenty of good results which has helped us gain momentum and given us that little bit of confidence I think to go on and do what we did against Sweden and also going into the game against Germany which will be a bigger test.


GOTB: Going into Montenegro for next month, how do you approach that game now? Obviously you’re always going to be professional but is it good chance for you to see other players get a chance?

MS: Yes! I think for us it’s more about continuing the type of work we’ve been doing – developing the hard work on the training field and our tactical understanding of the way we want the team to play. In addition, there is potentially the opportunity to freshen that up with some new faces. We are at a really difficult stage is the domestic season as well so we have to look at who can potentially help out in terms of making sure they will be fresh and fit for their club games. Ultimately though, for us it’s about going there, winning the match and performing as well as we can and to do that we do need a lot of players involved.


GOTB: And then it’s the big one! We know it’s only a friendly but it’s pretty huge to be in Wembley to play Germany. How are you going to approach that match against a tough opponent? Are you looking forward to it?

MS: Yeah! Isn’t it awesome that we’re playing at Wembley! It’s a huge milestone for the women’s game and a there has been a large amount of work that’s gone on behind the scenes. Something that I was determined do when I started was to take this team to Wembley and we knew what we had to do to get there. We finally got through the door and now it’s an incredibly exciting period for the game and for the team in particular because we are playing at home, we’re playing against one of the best teams in the world and it’s a game I’m incredibly excited for. We will treat it just like any other game; it’s an important one and we want to play well and we want to win.

JM: I think everyone is excited. The fact that it’s at Wembley gives us an even bigger and better stage to play on. We’re welcoming one of the best teams in the world to play at one of the best stadiums in the world and the squad is going to be really buzzing for that. I think it’s going to be one of those games that people step up for and we will see what we can do.


GOTB: Building up towards the world cup next year, will there be more friendlies on the cards?

MS: Yeah, I think so because we do need to play against some of the top teams in the world and see where we’re at. Obviously we have the Cyprus Cup which will give us a good opportunity to go and play some teams from different continents that we don’t often get a chance to play. This will be important because we might face that in Canada. It’s about trying to get the players to get as much experience as they can and to keep working on our new principles and test ourselves hopefully against some of the best teams in the world.


GOTB: Do you enjoy doing thinks like today?

MS: Yeah for me, I am a football man; I like to be on the field so any opportunity, is great for me. It saves me from being sat in front of a video or sat in a meeting. It’s been good fun and fair play to you two, you can play a little bit but a lot of work to do I think


GOTB: Just a bit about the FAWSL. Jade, things at Birmingham have been going pretty sweetly this year. What do you think has been the main reason behind it?

JM: I think I have said it to quite a lot of people that have asked that it’s been the togetherness of the squad. We’ve kept a unity between us and everyone is wanting to travel in the same direction. We have been completely focused and know what we want to achieve. Unfortunately the game against Chelsea didn’t go our way but I think it’s still in our hands as much as it possibly can be. The loss against Chelsea has got rid of our trump card, our little buffer of dropping a few points, so it’s now about taking each game as they come and getting the best results we can possibly get.


GOTB: How far do you think the Champions League has helped your campaign?

JM: I definitely agree that the Champions League is one of the things that has led to our league success. I think the momentum we built from such a good campaign gave us so much confidence going into the league. Beating Arsenal twice in the competition gave us great belief and allowed us to actually look at ourselves.  We are a young side and we haven’t had a lot of experience in the league but we have the potential to do really well.


GOTB: Have you enjoyed the new ground at Solihull Moors? You’ve been getting good crowds down to watch.

JM: Definitely! It’s been a really big transition. It’s been something that Birmingham have wanted to do for quite some time. Stratford was a really nice facility and the people were wonderful but it was just too far out of Birmingham to get that catchment area and get people through the gates. I think you have seen the difference from the attendance figures.

We somehow don’t think we will be receiving our England call up any time soon. We would both like to say a massive thank you to Vauxhall England, Mark, Marianne and Jade for a brilliant experience at St. George’s Park.

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