Introductie van Lauren Hemp – Engeland's grote tienerhoop die het WK op haar bank zag


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Lauren Hemp watched England’s World Cup campaign on her sofa and suffered the pain of their semi-final defeat to the USA at home in Norwich so would be forgiven if she was struggling to get her head round the fact she is now part of the revenge mission.

Hemp is part of a new generation of England players who have been brought in to refresh Phil Neville’s squad ahead of next summer’s European Championships.

The Manchester City winger, who is likely to start against the USA on Thursday night, is arguably the best of the lot. The 19-year-old from Norfolk is already causing a stir with a series of thrilling performances for her club and has earned praise from everyone within the England set-up, both for her quality and personality.

While Chelsea striker Beth England has attracted most of the attention heading into the SheBelieves Cup, scoring the goals that won the Continental Cup final last weekend, Hemp is perhaps the most exciting young player to have come through the English system since Lucy Bronze.

It is praise that has not changed the teenager, even if she was shocked to learn she can no longer visit her favourite chip shop in Norwich without being recognised.

“I’d like to say I’m quite laid back and play without any fear,” said Hemp, who admitted she had been nervous about meeting the media in Orlando for the first time.

“I hope that shows on the pitch – I’m just a laid back person and won’t worry about what else happens. I’d like to think I’m humble. You don’t see me celebrating that much, but when I do it’s in the big games.

“Last summer, during the World Cup, I was sat at home watching. I went out to France to watch one of the games but the rest of the times I was sat in the comfort of my own home.

“I just want to just prove that I should be here. Obviously, admiring from a year ago to now, where I am – I just want to try and prove my place in the squad.

“I didn’t think it would happen so quickly, but it’s nice that it has done. I just take every game as it comes and by getting these England call-ups, it gives me that confidence.”

Hemp’s progress is also significant as she has not followed the usual path, starting at Norwich before signing for City in 2018.

“I don’t get spotted often in Manchester because I feel like there are a lot of celebrities around,” she explained, with a smile. “Where I’m from in Norwich, not many people have come from there and not many people have come from the area.

“I did get noticed in my chip shop once. It probably wasn’t the best place to get recognised. I wasn’t actually getting something, I was with my sister. It was some young girls from the local side that I had played for, so it was nice that they recognised me.

“I think it’s nice for them to know that there is a way to get to the top even though you’re from an area that not that many people come from.

“There’s not that many opportunities from there but as the women’s game grows, it’s nice to see more. I’m a Norwich fan, but there are girls coming through from Ipswich in the England age groups now. It’s great to see.”

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