Beth Mead fully focused on fun and not Golden Boot pursuit at Euro 2022

·4-min read

Beth Mead says the Euro 2022 Golden Boot is not something she has been thinking about, with the in-form winger simply focusing on “enjoying my football”.

Mead continued her international scoring hot streak on Wednesday with the only goal of the contest as hosts England opened the Euros with a 1-0 victory over Austria at Old Trafford.

It was a 15th Lionesses goal for Mead since boss Sarina Wiegman took charge of the team last September.

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Mead notches the winner against Austria on Wednesday night (Martin Rickett/PA).
Beth Mead notches the winner against Austria on Wednesday night (Martin Rickett/PA)

England’s Jodie Taylor won the Golden Boot at Euro 2017, netting five goals, and Ellen White – top of the team’s all-time scoring list with 50 – was the joint highest scorer at the 2019 World Cup with six.

Asked if she was aiming for the Golden Boot this summer, Mead said: “I think it’s not something I’ve thought about.

“There’s some incredible scorers in this competition. I just want to enjoy my football and hopefully the goals, or assists, or whatever it may be will come.”

The 27-year-old – scorer of 23 goals across 40 caps overall – added: “I was joking, saying to Ellen I’m after her! I’m just happy to get goals for the team, and the goal (against Austria) was a big one.”

Mead’s goal came when she controlled Fran Kirby’s pass in the 16th minute and lifted the ball over her Arsenal team-mate Manuela Zinsberger.

Carina Wenninger tried to intervene, kicking an attempted clearance against the bar, before it was subsequently confirmed by the match officials that the ball had crossed the line and the effort would stand.

It prompted a huge roar around the stadium, which had a competition-record crowd of 68,871 in attendance, and Mead said of the noise: “It was crazy.

“I think it was a little bit delayed, waiting on the watch to make a noise or vibrate, but it was unbelievable when the noise that came round the stadium when it went in.”

Asked when she had last felt as nervous before a game as she did on Wednesday, Mead said: “Probably at Wembley, the first time I played against Germany (in 2019). I just think it was the occasion, a little bit of expectation – as soon as I was on the pitch I was fine.

“It’s a long day waiting sometimes when it’s an eight o’clock kick-off, so you kind of get in your own head a little bit. But I loved every minute. You feel like that (the nerves) because you care and you want to do well – it’s not a bad thing.”

Wiegman – whose side’s next Group A fixture, also sold out, is Monday’s clash with Norway at the Amex Stadium – spoke after the Austria match of it being “so important” to have made the winning start to the campaign, while also stressing the team can perform better.

Wiegman's side next play Norway at the Amex Stadium on Monday (Nick Potts/PA).
Sarina Wiegman’s side next play Norway at the Amex Stadium on Monday (Nick Potts/PA)

Mead said: “You can’t always win pretty and it wasn’t our best performance. But we go to the training pitch, we learn from it.”

Fellow winger Lauren Hemp said: “She (Wiegman) was obviously pleased with the result, it’s important we got the win. She said there’s a lot of things we need to improve on, and we’re aware of that. As players we take responsibility for that and we’ll make sure we put it right ready for Monday.

Lauren Hemp (right) in action on Wednesday (Nick Potts/PA).
Lauren Hemp, right, in action on Wednesday (Nick Potts/PA)

“There’s still so much more to come from this team.”

England are among the favourites to win what Hemp feels is a “wide-open tournament”.

The 21-year-old Manchester City player added: “There are so many favourites, or teams tipped to win. It’s exciting to see, and that’s important for the women’s game to grow.”

England will have to plan in the short term without Lotte Wubben-Moy after the Arsenal defender tested positive for Covid-19.

Wubben-Moy, an unused substitute on Wednesday, has left the squad and will hope to return in due course.

A statement from the team read: “Lotte Wubben-Moy has tested positive for Covid and has returned home. She will be monitored regularly with a view to returning to camp as soon as possible.”