Martha’s on the ball! Sutton student selected to train with England Lionesses

A rising Sutton Coldfield football star who dreams of representing England is putting her best boot forward this half term by training with the England Lionesses under 16s squad.

Fifteen-year-old Arthur Terry student, Martha MacPhail, has been selected to attend the England Lionesses residential training camp for the England Women’s under 16 age group. The activity will take place at St George’s Park National Performance Centre in Burton from 25 to 29 October.

“It’s been hard keeping fit throughout the last six months, but I have been focused on my goals and hopefully I’ll be rewarded with an England call up one day!”
– martha macphail

Martha plays for Aston Villa Women’s Regional Talent Centre U16s and is also part of the newly-formed Villa Women’s Academy talent day release programme. The sporty year 11 student will undertake intense match training, including strength and conditioning, along with education workshops around performance psychology.

Martha, who often plays in the right back position, said: “I’m pleased to have been selected for the camp this time round, given the current climate with Covid.”

She added: “It’s been hard keeping fit throughout the last six months, but I have been focused on my goals and hopefully I’ll be rewarded with an England call up one day!”

Cristina Torkildsen
Cristina Torkildsen says everyone at Aston Villa is proud that Martha has been called up to train with England.

During her training, Martha will be assigned time to complete her school work. Aston Villa Women has launched a dual career pathway, a programme to support future stars of the game to manage elite football expectations and studies so that players are well qualified individuals.

Cristina Torkildsen, Youth Technical Director at Aston Villa Women’s Football Club, said: “We couldn’t be prouder of Marty for her international call up, she deserves it and has worked incredibly hard to achieve this.

“Marty has been in and around England Camps for the last few years, but this is her first England U16s Training Camp and that’s a recognition of the great work she has put in over the last few years and beyond. Marty has a huge personality with bags of potential and we have no doubt that this will be the first of many – good luck and enjoy every second.”

Martha, who was previously selected to attend an England Women’s u15 training camp, started her career with Sutton Coldfield Town Juniors Football Club U7, before moving on to Aston Villa Women, Birmingham City RTC and Birmingham Women.

Arthur Terry PE teacher Donna Horspool said: “Martha’s dedication and attitude towards chasing her dreams is exemplary, she is a fabulous role model around school and deserves the success she is receiving.”

She added that Martha has “contributed significantly” to the success of Arthur Terry School’s football team, helping them to be crowned Birmingham School Futsal Champions, Erdington and Saltley Cup Champions, West Midlands County Cup Champions and English Schools Quarter Finalists. Martha is also an integral member of the West Midlands Schoolgirls County Team, working tirelessly to help them reach the semi-final of the National Cup.

Headteacher, Samantha Kibble, said: “We’re delighted that Martha has been chosen to train with England at this level. This honour is testament to her hard work and talent. She is incredibly gifted and dedicated, both as a player and as a student, and we will all be cheering her on at home.”

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