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Alexander: Scotland has faith in us and it’s brilliant

  • Glasgow City keeper says it’s exciting times for Scottish football
  • Will be looking to make her big tournament debut
  • Says England rivalry is huge as teams prepare to face off in Nice

When Edinburgh Castle is booked as a venue to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Trophy on its arrival in Scotland, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon takes time out of her day to be part of the latest trophy tour stop, you know something special is happening with Scottish women’s football.

That something special is a “snowball effect” of the Scotland women’s team’s progression over the last few years according to goalkeeper Lee Alexander, who has seen interest in her side soar since qualifying for their first World Cup this summer.

“I think the increased support we have shows how well we’ve done over the past few years,” she said.

“To know that more of the country is getting behind us and has faith in us is brilliant. Our country hasn’t been to a World Cup since 1998, which is a long time, so for us to be the first team to go is exciting for all of us.”

The Glasgow City goalkeeper was present at Edinburgh Castle alongside international teammate Joelle Murray, head coach Shelley Kerr and FIFA Legends Squad member Julie Fleeting, as Scotland welcomed the Women’s World Cup Trophy on the 21st stop of its global tour.

Scotland are one of four debutants in France this summer and will have learnt a lot from their experience at their first major tournament two years ago when they qualified for UEFA EURO finals in the Netherlands.

Injuries to key players meant the Scots were below full strength and struggled to reach the levels they are capable of at the tournament, but Alexander believes that experience gained could be vital for their first World Cup.

“The experience in 2017 was really important to a lot of players. Most of this group was there but we had injuries to players like Kim Little, Jen Beattie and Emma Mitchell, so we didn’t go with a full squad.

“We now have tournament experience, so we know how to prepare and how to recover. The World Cup is bigger of course and it’s a step up, but having had the experience of the EUROs is going to be huge for us.”

If selected, Alexander will make her major international tournament debut having had to settle for a place on the bench in Scotland’s three European Championship matches, playing backup to 203-cap veteran Gemma Fay.

Having been handed her international debut by current boss Kerr, the Glasgow City goalkeeper is hoping to grab any chance she gets with both hands and help her team qualify from their group.

“I got my first cap nearly two years ago now and it feels like a long time ago. It’s a lot of hard work ahead to make sure I put myself in the best position for selection and to make sure I’m in the team.

“But it’s great, I have some experience now playing in a qualifying campaign, sometimes you’re the hero and sometimes the villain. It’s an exciting time for Scottish football and I want to be a part of it this summer.”

Of course, there is added incentive for Alexander and her team-mates to be a part of the squad this summer as the team will open the tournament against their old rivals England in Nice.

The two sides met at the EUROs in 2017, but with Scotland’s injury list hampering their starting XI, the Lionesses ran out 6-0 winners in what was a baptism of fire for the Scots.

While players are often quick to put one game’s importance over another, Alexander admitted that the game with England was an opportunity to make her country proud.

“I think everybody was laughing when the teams were drawn,” she said. “That first game at EURO 2017 didn’t go well at all, so we have that experience to learn from. You can’t hide away from this game; it’s a huge rivalry and I think it excites a lot of the players. We just want to put in a performance and make people proud.”

This is arguably Scotland’s most talented pool of players and coach Kerr admitted in Edinburgh that picking her squad would be the hardest job she’s possibly ever had as a manager.

But with Little and Erin Cuthbert both receiving accolades in England this week, just how confident is Alexander that her team can perform this summer?

“When you look at Erin getting nominated for Young Player and Player of the Year down south, it’s pleasing to know a lot of our players are playing well and we hope that will continue.

“We have some really technical players; Kim Little is unreal but we have a squad that works hard and we have a lot of belief. We’ve turned out some good performances in the last couple of years, but there is work to do and our group is a tough one. We are not getting ahead of ourselves.”

EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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