Football star Zara Shaw ready for hard graft in U17 Euros quest
With a place in the U17 Euros up for grabs, Zara Shaw knows she and her England teammates will not shy away from hard work.
By Jonny Bray, Sportsbeat
Versatile Zara Shaw says the sacrifices she has made will all be worthwhile if she can help fire England to the Women's Under-17 European Championship.
The 15-year-old Liverpool youth midfielder has been selected in the England Under-17 squad to take on Croatia, Belgium and Norway in Group A2 next month as they look to get off to a strong start in Round 2 of qualifying.
Shaw spent 2022 helping England reach this stage in the championship – which will be held in Estonia – and formed a crucial part of the squad that beat Denmark 3-1, Estonia 3-0 and Ukraine 11-0 last October.
And with the tough task of balancing academic work at The Prescot School with her football with the Reds, Shaw admits that representing her country makes all the tough times worthwhile.
"It can be very time-consuming, as you can imagine, you have to sacrifice family time and time with friends," said Shaw, who is supported by SportsAid and Starling Bank and was speaking ahead of SportsAid Week 2023.
"Even education time at school becomes limited, so it is hard to fit everything in, but it is all worth it when you achieve something like this.
"After being called up to the Under-17s, I was just buzzing, to be honest, proud, excited, everything really.
"There were a few nerves, but it felt really good.
"I just wanted to go out there and prove everyone wrong. That’s what I did from a young age!"@RhiannonKD6 shares the inspirational story behind her cricketing journey alongside her mum Amanda and @TheBlazeCricket 🏏
▶️ https://t.co/mDsNEssoJn#SportsAidWeek @ECB_Cricket pic.twitter.com/mLH7KHBxQS
— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) March 9, 2023
"Being called up to an England squad is the best feeling after all the work you have put in every day at training.
"Even off the pitch, the things you have to do, the sacrifices, it just feels amazing.
"I'm flying out to Round 2 of the Euro qualifiers with England on Wednesday, so I obviously want to progress through the tournament, win all our games and progress to the finals in May in Estonia."
SportsAid Week 2023 is here, with the annual initiative, which was launched in 2016, taking place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March.
This year’s theme focuses on ‘Accessibility and Inclusion’ as the charity shines a spotlight on the country’s most talented young athletes and celebrates the incredible work being undertaken by its partners to support the future of British sport.
Women's football in England is growing at an incredible rate, boosted by the Lionesses' historic Euro 2022 triumph at Wembley last summer.
And Shaw is hoping to pick up some silverware of her own later this year.
Baroness @Tanni_GT DBE DL, an 11-time Paralympic gold medallist and tireless campaigner in the worlds of sport and disability rights, shares what accessibility and inclusion means to her 🥇
— SportsAid (@TeamSportsAid) March 8, 2023
“That is the goal of myself and the whole team, I want to get selected, and I want to go and win the Euros,” added Shaw, who is supported by SportsAid and commercial partner Starling Bank.
"That is my big goal for this year.
"It would just be surreal and an amazing memory.
"To have that happen at the beginning of my career would just be amazing.
"The memories and the experience around the trip would be great."
SportsAid Week 2023 takes place from Monday 6 March to Sunday 12 March! Join us for a dedicated week of fun and awareness-raising based around theme of accessibility and inclusion. Please visit www.sportsaid.org.uk