Beth Mead: Arsenal, Sunderland and representing England

You signed for Arsenal in 2017. How are you enjoying your time at the club so far. How would you describe the team environment and what do you view as the main strengths of this Arsenal Women’s team?

My life at Arsenal when I first signed for the club was quiet tough. I was actually injured. So when I first arrived at the club I was not able to get on the pitch and I was not able to get a relationship with some of the girls on the pitch.

I found my first months at the club to be quiet difficult. I managed to recover from injury and take part in training sessions and it became really enjoyable for me. I have loved every minute of my time at the club so far. The girls have been really welcoming and in general the atmosphere is very competitive because we have world class players at every level which for me as a player is great because when I was at Sunderland AFC Ladies I had an opportunity to play every week with not a lot of competition for the number nine spot.

Now I actually have to up my game in every training session to know that someone is not going to be playing over me so that is something that I had to adapt to as a player. It is something that I did and something that made me better as a player as I have got older whilst being here at Arsenal.

You lead my nicely on to my next question. You played six seasons for Sunderland AFC Ladies. How do you look back on your time at the club and do you have any highlights or special memories?

I think my biggest highlight from my time at Sunderland AFC Ladies was winning winning WSL Two to get promoted into WSL One was a big one for me and when we go promoted that season we played at home against Chelsea FC and we beat them 4-0 and I scored a hattrick in that game which became a standout memory of my time there.

We were competing with the best in the league at that time and we managed to beat them and at one stage we were top of the league so it was quiet a crazy feeling and we were a team that had only just been promoted that were top of the league midway through the season.

You are a fully fledged international player and you have been capped by your country of England. How do you reflect on your international career so far and what are your highlights and special memories of playing for England?

My debut for England was bittersweet. I made my debut against rivals Wales in a World Cup qualifier at St Mary’s in Southampton in front of 30,000 fans. We happened to draw the game so the mood around the somber than I would have liked because I made my debut and I was over the moon. Being apart of the FIFA 2019 World Cup in France and playing my first game against Scotland and the semi final against United States although we lost,you will never recreate those moments in football and they were pretty special for me when playing for England.

You have accrued experience playing for Sunderland AFC Ladies, Arsenal and also at international level for England. could you say who are among the best players you have played alongside so far in your career?

“File:England Women’s Vs USA (18500761141).jpg”by joshjdss is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Yes, the likes of Steph Houghton who is an unbelievable leader. She is a player that I looked up to growing up when she played for Sunderland AFC Ladies. She also went to Arsenal and she is now playing for Manchester City.She is a player that I really get on with both on and off the pitch. She has tremendous leadership skills and she is someone that if you are struggling you know that you can go to her and she will have your back.

Another player is Lucy Bronze who is a world class player who has a great engine and she is a powerful player. She is someone who I when I come up against her in training I pride myself on trying to do well because if I can do well against the likes of Lucy Bronze that puts me on a good platform to play well against anyone else’s. She gets the best out of me and playing with her is a pleasure every time I get a chance to. She is also a beast when it comes to the gym.

I can imagine in your position as a forward that you have come against many difficult opponents through the years. Are there opponents so far in your career that stand out for you in terms of talent and ability?

Yes. One player that really stands out for me and we have also played them recently and I have also watched her a lot growing up is Dzsenifer Marozsán of Olympique Lyonnais and Germany. We played Germany at Wembley in November 2019 and she literally ran the show. She was ahead of everybody else in terms of technical ability. Her vision and reading of the game is beyond anything I have ever seen of any player.I am also a set piece specialist but with her technique she is a world class set piece specialist and that is someone that if I can get anywhere near to what she is like I would be pretty happy.

Finally Beth, could you say so far in your career which coaches and managers have meant a lot to you and who have played a key role in your development as a professional footballer?

I have been fortunate to play under many good coaches. During my time at Middlesbrough W.F.C in their centre of excellence I had a coach named Andy Cook and he really pushed me to sign for Sunderland AFC Ladies. I could have had another year at centre of excellence level. Some of the coaches around that time were say no stay and play for us. He could see my ability and he wanted me to do well individually.

Mick Mulhern was my manager at Sunderland AFC Ladies and he came to watch me at the Middlesbrough W.F.C centre of excellence and he picked me up and I played every game under him at women’s level unless I was injured so he put me in at the deep end. He also got a little bit of stick from players that had been there a little bit longer than me as I was only 16 years old at the time and playing in front of those players.But he saw my raw ability and luckily for me it worked out. Now here at Arsenal I really enjoyed working with Joe Montemurro. He is a good guy both on and off the pitch.He works well with the players and we train really well together. I am also playing well under him.

Featured image: “Eyes out; Beth Mead” by El Loko Foto is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This article first appeared on Women’s Football Supporters.

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