MANCHESTER UNITED goalkeeper Emily Ramsey is set to join up with the England Under-17 national team after her recent call-up for the European Championship qualification round in Lithuania.
Ramsey, 15, is the goalkeeper for Manchester United’s Under-17 Centre of Excellence team, making her England debut for the Under-16 national side against Germany last November before her inclusion in the current squad.
United’s first-choice goalkeeper and the rest of the England squad are set to meet up in London tomorrow before flying out to Lithuania on Friday to begin their Under-17 European Championship campaign in a qualifying group that contains the hosts, Slovenia and Russia.
Ahead of their first game against Lithuania in Marijampole, Ramsey said that the current squad are aiming to go one step further than England’s last time out in this tournament.
She said: “We’ve got a strong team, we’ve got a really good women’s set-up and hopefully we can get through to the next round of qualification – the Euros finals is the aim.
“The age group above me have just been at the Jordan World Cup, and they qualified for that by coming third in the Euros so hopefully we can do something similar”.
The four teams will play each other in a mini-tournament format with the winners and runners-up progressing to the next round – an elite tournament containing 24 teams split into six groups.
In the elite round eight teams go through to the final tournament, where two groups of four take place and end in a straight knock-out stage between the top two sides of each group.
The UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championships is an annual tournament, and England achieved their best ever finish back in May by coming third behind Spain and eventual winners Germany.
Well done Emily! Keep on working! https://t.co/O7Mh2n0Otk
— David de Gea (@D_DeGea) October 4, 2016
On the back of her second international call-up, Manchester United star David de Gea tweeted his fellow goalkeeper about her inclusion in the national squad.
The Spanish international said: “Well done Emily! Keep on working!”
Despite her England adventures, Ramsey is keeping her feet firmly on the ground and realises the need to balance her sporting career and her education.
“They have an education officer so he comes with us and he’ll bring a laptop with him, and there will be designated times of the day for work. I’ll talk to my school before I leave and they will give me work too”, the teenager said.
“They’re very aware that a lot of us still need education, a lot of us are in Year 11 at school and the others are in the first year of college”.
Emily’s mother, Kate Ramsey, echoed how vital it is for education to continue throughout England’s qualifying campaign, and acknowledged the gaps that exist between men’s and women’s football.
“It’s so much more important for girls – for boys, if they’re going to be an elite footballer and that’s what they want to do they can reasonably expect to receive a salary and have a career in it. With girls it’s much less likely, so the academic offering is more important to them as they don’t see it as such a good career option and they need a back-up”.
The United goalkeeper’s education could prove even more pivotal in the upcoming year due to the lack of a women’s football team at Manchester United.
“When you get to Year 11 that’s when there’s no more age groups to progress through, so at the end of this season I won’t have any more United teams to play for – instead, they try and set up trials at different clubs and the main three are Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton”.
Disbanded in 2005 to channel more money into the club’s youth system, United are yet to rebuild their ladies side. In the meantime, the blue side of Manchester has been growing in stature and has gone from strength to strength in the women’s game.
After securing the double by winning the Women’s Super League title and the Continental Cup, as well as reaching the last 16 of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the England goalkeeper expressed her desire for there to be a Manchester United side to challenge City at the top level:
“All of the coaches that I work with are linked to the Manchester United Foundation, and they’re all pushing for a women’s team. Every single season they try really hard to get a women’s team put in place. It’s just really a shame that United don’t have a club because they produce a lot of talent through the Regional Talent Club”.
Kate Ramsey enforced this, and said: “Emily was talking to the City players the other day, the England players, about the local rivalry – they want United to have a team for some local competition”.
The teenager is the latest player from the Manchester United Foundation’s FA Girls’ Centre of Excellence to gather recognition at international level after the centre earned the accolade of Regional Talent Club for the 2016/17 season.
The Manchester United Foundation Girls’ FA Regional Talent Club aims to provide opportunities for girls to play football at the highest standard against other clubs of a similar level, with the view of developing them to international standard. As part of the commitment, Manchester United Foundation will provide the girls with intensive training and games with other Regional Talent Club teams from the North West.