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Friday 22 Oct 2021
Wilson ready to grab Wembley challenge with both hands

Northern Ireland senior women’s striker Emily Wilson is relishing the prospect of facing England in this evening’s FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

The 20-year-old centre-forward netted her first senior international goal last month in the 4-0 win over Luxembourg and now she’s ready to show what she can do against the Lionesses – if given the nod by boss Kenny Shiels.

Wilson, who found the net 19 times for Crusaders Strikers in the season just gone, is juggling football with studying for Sports Exercise and Fitness degree. But this weekend the primary focus for her and her teammates is delivering the best performance possible against the might of England.

We’re just ready to grab it with both hands and we’re looking forward to it

“The mood has been great around the squad and it’s great to get the girls all back in together and everybody is buzzing for Saturday’s game and we can’t wait for the match,” she said.

“It will be amazing to play at Wembley. Obviously it was a special feeling to get my first goal in September and the three points that night too. It was a great night for me, but Saturday at Wembley is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It may never happen again so we’re just ready to grab it with both hands and we’re looking forward to it.”

And the Antrim native admits playing against the calibre of opposition they face tomorrow evening will give Northern Ireland an edge to their game.

“Getting the chance to play against girls who are full-time professional footballers who are playing in the top teams in the WSL (Women’s Super League) is a great opportunity for all of us to test ourselves,” she said.

“It’s such a big stage and we know there’s going to be a lot of people watching and a lot of fans at the game. We just want to give our best and we’re all confident that we’ll hopefully be able to get a result on Saturday.

“Getting on the scoresheet again would be fantastic but three points is what we’re looking for. We’d be very happy with that.”

After England comes Austria in Belfast and Wilson will be in the familiar surroundings of Seaview – her home patch.

“We’re all optimistic for the two games and we’re looking forward to them. We’ll stick to our game plan and we’ve prepared well coming into these matches. We’ll take it one game at a time and look forward to England, recover well and then we can look ahead to Austria,” she said.

“It was amazing to see the fans back again last month. It’s been so long since we had them in – especially after not having them there when we qualified for the Euros. It was great having them back and having our families in the crowd. It was special for all of us to have bit of normality back and we can’t wait for the game at Seaview and hopefully there will be a good turnout in Belfast.”

England v Northern Ireland will be screened live on ITV on 23 October. Kick-off 17:15