England U19s face Germany in their final group game of Euro 2022 on Sunday evening. With a win and defeat in their opening two matches, they know that a victory is what is needed to see them progress to the semi-finals.

Jorja Fox has been a constant presence for England this tournament, while also featuring heavily for the Young Lionesses across qualifying. A Chelsea Academy graduate, she spent the second half of the 2021/22 season on loan at Charlton Athletic. We caught up with the 18-year-old full-back to find out how the squad are feeling and her football career so far.


How is the mood in the squad after a tough result on Thursday?

JF: Yeah, the vibe is good around camp. We started on a high, obviously, but the Sweden game didn’t go our way. But we’ve reviewed the game, analysed it, and taken the positives and negatives. We’re in a good place now and we’ve got a clear mind going into Germany. We know it’s [qualification] still in our hands so we’re positive.


Do you feel that the two qualifying rounds have given you the experience you need to tackle this competition?

JF: Yeah, this team has been together for like four years now. We’ve been together a long time and we’ve been through a lot together. We’ve gone through the COVID period, and we’ve got a lot of experience. The last two rounds have definitely helped leading into this but I think the main thing is we’re such a team that we just come together. We can get through anything together if we do it as a team.


What has tournament life been like, as you have been away a long time at this point?

JF: It’s a different experience. But as I said, we’ve been away a lot together and we get on really well. We can entertain ourselves. We play lots of cards. We like getting to know other teams. So yeah, we’re good at entertaining ourselves. I think this is the longest we’ve been away but, so far, it’s been a really good camp.


Who’s the best card player?

JF: For this camp, the main card game’s been Uno Flip. I think Aggie is obsessed with it, so I’d say she’s the best.


Obviously, you’ve got Germany next which is always a big one. How are much are you looking forward to that game?

JF: It’s a massive game. But I think we play our best when we’re under pressure. We’re prepared to soak up that pressure and we know we have something special in this team. We think we deserve to be on this stage and we’re going to put everything on the line to make sure the result goes our way. And obviously, Germany are a massive team; they’re one of the best teams in Europe. So, we’re just prepared to hopefully put in a winning worthy performance.


Sweden U19s v England U19s, U19 Euro 2022


Have you been surprised by their results so far? 

JF: We expected the results to go differently to how they have in our group. It’s been a bit unexpected. But then, at the same time anything can happen. We can’t underestimate; we can’t overestimate. We’ve just got to focus on ourselves.


This opportunity to play for England, how much does it mean to you?

JF: It means everything. It’s what you play for. You’ll never get used to it, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. I think it’s just such a privilege and every time you step on the pitch, you can’t take it for granted. I don’t think we ever will take it for granted.


I guess having that time with COVID as well has made it even more special?

JF: Yeah, especially because our U17s Euros got cancelled. We feel like we’ve been waiting so long to get to this point that, as we say in our team, “We haven’t come this far to only come this far”. This is our chance to do it. We’re going to put everything into it.


The visibility around this tournament is bigger than it’s ever been before with it be shown live on the BBC. Do you feel that? Do you feel excited by that?

JF: It’s massive. I don’t think we, as a team, have had anything like this before. It feels like a privilege that people want to watch us, and people can watch us. It’s easily accessible and I think it’s a massive step in the women’s game to have the U19 Euros shown on TV. It’s a step in the right direction.


Tell us a bit about your journey. How did you get into playing?

JF: My dad got me into playing. Everywhere we went, my parents always made sure I had a ball with me, whether that’s a tennis ball or anything. I always had a ball at my feet. And then my dad took me along to a little training centre and I was there until I was 8. The next step from there was to go into something called Little League, where it’s all boys and it’s all competitive. My dad didn’t really want me to go into that at the age of 8 so he took me to quite a few clubs – it was AFC Wimbledon, Fulham, and Chelsea. I got into Chelsea when I was 8 and I’ve just stayed there ever since.


I was going to ask about what it’s been like coming through the Chelsea Academy?

JF: It’s really good. I mean, obviously, it attracts the best girls in the country. So, from a young age, we’ve been surrounded by the best and the coaches…It’s really good. I think the difference is, from a young age, they work on technical ability. They play you in every position so you’re versatile, and I think they just make all-round good players. You can see that through who’s coming through in both the men’s and the women’s teams.


You made your FAWSL debut as well and your UWCL debut away to Servette last year. How were those experiences?

JF: It’s something I’ve always dreamed up but it’s something that you don’t really ever expect to come. So yeah, when my FAWSL debut did come it was unexpected. I found out the day before I was going to be in the squad, and I never expected to come on. But I think making that debut with Aggie [Beever-Jones] as well, who I’ve known since I was 10 and worked my way through the club with, was even more special because it’s just something you can do together. And then my Champions League debut, that was a crazy experience. I mean, the crowd was massive – the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of. Nothing can replicate that, playing for your childhood club.


That partnership with Aggie and also Charlotte Wardlaw must really help when you come into this international environment?

JF: We’re quite lucky that quite a lot of the players here have played for Chelsea at some point. We’ve got a good connection on the pitch. We all have similar playing styles. So yeah, it’s almost that like telepathy we have, and I think it works really well.


You went also to Charlton last year at the end of last season. Was that about getting more minutes to prepare you for this competition?

JF: I think it was really important because I’d been in with the Chelsea first team for about a year and a half at that point without playing any regular games. I think especially at the age I was, like 17/18, it’s just so important to get those minutes in your legs. I don’t regret one bit of staying at Chelsea for a year and a half because the things I learned, you can’t get them anywhere else. But it was just a case of putting what I’d learnt into practice. Especially heading into a tournament like this, I needed to get that confidence and rhythm going again, and I think it did me good.


The experience of playing under different coaches must have been helpful too?

JF: The playing and coaching style is very different at Charlton. But I think that’s something you’ve got to be able to adapt to because, obviously at international level, coaches are changing all the time. You’ve got to learn how to play with the new coaches, how to make relationships with them, and it’s all good experience to gain.


Of course. And now under Gemma Davies now as well this year with the U19s; that’s been a new experience.

JF: Yeah. We had had the same coach at international level for three years, which I think is quite unusual for a youth age group. So, I think everyone was a bit…not shaken but they weren’t expecting a new coach to come in for the Euros. But I think everyone settled in really well with Gemma. She’s a lovely coach and she’s a lovely person. I think it’s worked well and, hopefully, she can take us all the way.


What would you say are your strongest attributes as a player?

JF: I think as a full-back, obviously, I love to get forward. That’s always my first though. But at the same time, I like to pride myself in one v one defending. I hate letting people past me, so I’ll put everything on the line to stop someone doing that. So yeah, I’d say one v one defending but then getting those assists and goals in as well.



Your family are here, as well a lot of the girls’ families. How important is that to all of you knowing that they’re here and right behind you?

JF: It’s so important. You don’t even have to see them, just knowing that they’re there and that you’re making them proud, and how much it means to them as well as you. They’ve been on the journey with you the whole way. And even if some people’s parents couldn’t come, I think with the streaming online, we know people are watching us. We know we want to make them proud and make us proud.


There’s quite a bit of excitement around England as a whole, both on the men and the women’s side. The men’s U19s won the Euros on Friday. As a part of that, do you feel that excitement around the whole of the England environment?

JF: Yeah, definitely. I think our Euros couldn’t have fallen at a better time. I mean all the hype is around football at the moment in England. I think with the men winning yesterday, that’s just motivated us even more. We want to do what they’ve done. We can see that it’s doable. It’d be great if we could get three out of three this summer.


And finally, several quick-fire questions about your U19s teammate. Who’s the most serious?

JF: I’d say Charlotte Wardlaw. As a captain, I think it’s her role and she’s a very focused person. But she also has that fun side to her, but she knows when to switch.


Who’s the most likely to put in a strong tackle in training?

JF: Charlotte again. She’s doesn’t hold back. You should see her legs; they are covered in bruises all the time.


Who’s the most likely to be cracking jokes?

JF: Grace Clinton. I think she is the clown of the group. She’s very funny and she’s always making people laugh.


Who’s the most likely to score worldies in training?

JF: I’d say Maisie Symonds. She always scores worldies in training. She loves a good free kick and her range outside the box is crazy. She gets so much power on it.


And finally, who’s the most likely to break the world record for keepy-uppies?

JF: You’ve stitched me up here, haven’t you? I mean, I don’t want to say me, but I think it would have to be me. Just because of the freestyle background. I don’t like saying it but, yeah, I used to be in the garden all the time doing keepy-uppies. I wouldn’t leave the garden until I hit a number or did a trick so, yeah, I would say me. If not, Aggie.


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