From Grasshopper to Lioness
Many fans believe professional players are born with a gift for the game, an innate ability to make the football do whatever they want it to do – but that’s not true in every case.
“I was an awful footballer when I was younger,” admits England defender Hannah Blundell.
“I really was terrible.
“I played for a team in Eastbourne called Polegate Grasshoppers when I was eight years old. Looking back, we probably weren’t the best.
“I remember once we played in this tournament. We couldn’t score a goal let alone win a game.
“I was on the subs bench when we eventually did score our first goal. I must have been so bad!”
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Hannah’s story is one of perseverance and a desire to reach the top.
Despite her rather underwhelming introduction to the game Hannah kept on playing and training and improved over time, eventually joining Brighton.
She then moved to Charlton before joining Chelsea aged 16.
“If someone had told me back then that one day I’d be playing for Chelsea and England I wouldn’t have believed them,” she recalled.
“I guess I'm proof that if you dedicate yourself to something, keep your head down and keep on working hard to improve then anything is possible.
“With the right application you can do whatever you want."
Hannah did stick at it and just kept getting better and better, earning a call-up to the England U19 squad. And her career has continued to blossom.
She was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2015, won Chelsea’s young player award that same season and was then called up to the senior England squad for the China Cup.
Hannah finally made her debut as a substitute against world champions USA in March 2017.
And she played a key role on her full debut, helping the Lionesses ease to a 6-0 World Cup qualifying win over Kazakhstan six months later.