FOOTBALL: Long Bennington’s Lucy is selected for England

Lucy Johnson taking part in English Schools Football Association Under 15 Girls Trials in December. Photo: Garry Griffiths, ThreeFiveThree Photography
Lucy Johnson taking part in English Schools Football Association Under 15 Girls Trials in December. Photo: Garry Griffiths, ThreeFiveThree Photography

A Belvoir High School student has been selected to play football for England Schoolgirls in the under-15 age group.

Following trials at the end of last year, Lucy Johnson, of Long Bennington, was chosen for the squad and will earn her first international cap this season.

Lucy will be joining 15 other England under-15 squad members for a training camp in Spain later this month, and she will be involved in fixtures against the Republic of Ireland at Bury FC next month, and the Bob Docherty Tournament in Wales in April.

A member of the Lincolnshire Ladies’ Centre of Excellence, Lucy has also been selected to attend an FA Girls’ England Talent Pathway National Performance Camp in Coventry at the end of this month.

Only those players identified as having elite potential are given the opportunity to attend the FA National Performance Camp.

The aim of the NPC is to allow players the chance to train and play amongst high level players from across the country.

With guide and support from FA technical staff, Lucy and the other attendees will also be given access to specialist medical and sports science support to further aid their football development.

Lucy’s father, Alan, said her love of football started while she was still a pupil at Long Bennington Primary School, when the manager of the village boys’ team, Steve Rowley, got her involved with the sport at around eight years old.

Following a couple of seasons with Long Bennington JFC, a scout from Nottingham Forest spotted her prodigious talent and suggested the best thing would be to get her involved with Lincoln Ladies – a major force in the female side of the sport.

Having been at Lincoln since the age of 10, Lucy trains there twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays, whilst Saturdays can see her travelling all over the country to play for her side.

Lucy’s talent and achievements are all the more remarkable as she has only just turned 14 years old and is in her first year as an under-15.

Alan said left-back Lucy, affectionately compared to Stuart Pearce by her Lincs coaches, was quite stressed about the possibility of England selection since trials began last October but said she was quite happy now she is a confirmed squad member.

As for future ambitions, Alan said Lucy has not ruled out the possibility of a soccer scholarship in the USA when she gets older, where it is a truly burgeoning sport with a growing interest across the nation.

Football is in the Johnson genes and Alan said his father and brother were both skilful players.

But, fortunately for Lucy, her father’s own self-confessed lack of talent was not passed down to her.

Alan said: “She doesn’t get it from me, because I was rubbish! I’m just trying to keep her feet on the ground. She just wants to keep playing football.”