Bethany England eyes 'fairytale ending' to Tottenham's remarkable season

Bethany England celebrates England's Women's Euro2022 triumph at Wembley Stadium
Bethany England celebrates England's Women's Euro2022 triumph at Wembley Stadium -Credit:Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Tottenham's captain, Bethany England, has her sights set on a "fairytale ending" as she aims to break the Spurs' semi-final curse by clinching the Women's FA Cup. After saving the club from relegation last season, England is now focused on the upcoming semi-finals against Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this Sunday.

The match follows a thrilling penalty shoot-out victory over Manchester City. Both Spurs and the Foxes are making their debut in the competition's semi-finals, ensuring that the FA Cup final at Wembley will feature a first-time participant. This exciting prospect stands in stark contrast to the struggles faced by Spurs just a year ago, when the threat of relegation loomed large.

England, who joined Spurs from Chelsea in January, played a pivotal role in the club's turnaround. Her impressive performance in the second half of the season helped secure the team's safety.

Since then, Spurs have been on an upward trajectory, currently sitting sixth in the table and just six points behind last year's runners-up, Manchester United, with a game in hand, reports the Mirror.

Reflecting on the team's progress, England, who missed the first half of the season due to hip surgery, said: "As a whole, Tottenham have stepped up their game,".

The 29-year-old shared, "We've brought in a new manager. We've brought in new players. The players that were there before Christmas, before they left, they'd done a phenomenal job since pre-season on kick-starting off Tottenham season,".

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"We started very strongly. We had a bit of a dip after Christmas in finding football but I feel like we're truly starting to find and see the fluidity again within the team and keeping more clean sheets and definitely looking more threatening in the attack as well."

She added that the offensive side of the game was particularly potent now that England is back amongst the goals. In January, England's double helped orchestrate an essential 3-2 comeback win over Sheffield United Women in the FA Cup fourth round.

However, England's striking ace didn't notch her WSL tally until securing a 1-0 victory against relegation-facing Bristol City last month.

"I was pleased because there's been a lot of conversations about scoring in the league," she admitted. "There's been a lot of pressure. To finally get off the mark and score that goal and not only that but to then hit my 17th in the WSL as well it was a proud day for me. Hopefully, now the first one is in, the rest will follow."

Spurs followers will be crossing fingers that many more goals are on the horizon this weekend. Interestingly, while Tottenham's women's squad has never reached this synonymous stage of the competition, their male counterparts have made it to eight FA Cup semi-finals albeit losing all of them since their triumphant FA Cup outing back in 1991.

Ange Postecoglou's team may be out of the silverware race this season, but Robert Vilahamn's squad could end their 16-year drought for a major trophy.

Beth England is no stranger to the electric atmosphere of FA Cup finals and the iconic Wembley Stadium, where she's captivated by the crescendo of the crowd's roar. "You hear the noise volumes go from 0 to 100, it's just an amazing iconic venue," she enthuses.

"Everyone wants to say that they've scored at Wembley and being in one of the biggest competitions in English football, the FA Cup, is something that people cherish forever."

A win against Leicester City might set up a mouth-watering match with her old team Chelsea, who are on a quest to defend their FA Cup title under Emma Hayes in what could be her last season as manager.

England avoids getting drawn into any talk of a Chelsea rivalry, choosing to concentrate on her current club Tottenham. Leading the team out at Wembley as Spurs captain would be another moment to savour, distinct (but not superior, she clarifies) from her past experiences there: lifting the FA Cup with Chelsea in 2021-22 and playing in the 2022 European Championships with England.

Yet, when it comes to scoring and winning, England keeps her excitement in check.

"We [Spurs] made history just getting to the semi-finals so the opportunity to walk out at Wembley in a final would be massive. Who knows which team we'd face, Manchester United or Chelsea. It'll be a very tough game but an amazing experience, especially for the girls to be able to play in such a big crowd."

"I don't think many of them have played in such big crowds or such an iconic venue like Wembley. It would definitely be a fairytale ending if I was able to lead the team there and we win it."