Bethany England says representing England at a home Euros will be an “amazing experience” after reflecting on a footballing journey that started in a boys’ team with her twin sister Laura.
The 28-year-old has been selected as part of Sarina Wiegman’s squad for the upcoming tournament. The Lionesses’ games, the first of which is being played at Old Trafford on Wednesday 6 July, have already sold out.
England told Sky Sports News: “I think it is going to be unbelievable, having family and friends able to travel around in the home nations and coming to all the games. With sold out stadiums, it is going to be packed full. It is just going to be an amazing experience.”
England, who has just won the Women’s Super League with Chelsea, was named Player of the Year and PFA Women’s Players’ Player of the Year in 2020. She has scored 60 goals in 126 appearances for Chelsea and has 16 international caps.
What many don’t know is that England has a twin sister, Laura, who is also a talented sportswoman. The pair played for Sheffield United’s academy, but started off in a boys’ team.
“We weren’t scared of tackles, either tacking them or giving them,” Laura recalls.
Whilst Bethany admits the boys were always very welcoming, the girls could put them through their paces. One of her most vivid memories was of a pretty brutal defeat.
“The first ever game, I think it was against Spy Rangers, we lost 22-0”, Bethany said. “Honestly, as much as you think that sounds brutal. It didn’t knock us. We wanted to still keep on playing.”
When the pair were growing up, women’s football had nowhere near the following it does now. There was very little shown on television and there were very few role models to follow. Laura decided to instead focus on the javelin, which she has done internationally, training alongside the likes of Jessica Ennis-Hill.
The girls might have matching tattoos and matching dogs, but they have very different personalities and are not identical twins. Laura admits that has its benefits, because unlike Bethany, she doesn’t get stopped in the supermarket for her autograph all the time. Nonetheless, they are fiercely competitive.
Bethany said: “We were playing tennis down the side of our house once. I lost and I was that angry I threw the racket down. It bounced and hit her in the face. She ended up with this really bad lump on her eye, which she had to have an operation on to have it removed.”
Having the surname “England”, it seems almost fitting that both girls have competed in their own sports internationally. However, it does have its drawbacks, as they found out when trying to book a taxi home after England lost to Italy in the final of the men’s European Championship last summer.
“They asked what surname it was”, Laura recalls. “She said ‘England’ and they hung up on her. They wouldn’t believe us because they thought it was a prank call.”
Follow Euro 2022 across Sky Sports
Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.
In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong programme line up around the tournament.
Euro 2022: The groups…
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
Euro 2022: The schedule…
Wednesday July 6
Group A: England vs Austria – kick off 8pm, Old Trafford
Thursday July 7
Group A: Norway vs Northern Ireland – kick off 8pm, St Mary’s
Friday July 8
Group B: Spain vs Finland – kick off 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany vs Denmark – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Saturday July 9
Group C: Portugal vs Switzerland – kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Group C: Netherlands vs Sweden – kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Sunday July 10
Group D: Belgium vs Iceland – kick off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Italy – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Monday July 11
Group A: Austria vs Northern Ireland – kick off 5pm, St Mary’s
Group A: England v Norway – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Tuesday July 12
Group B: Denmark vs Finland – kick off 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany vs Spain – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Wednesday July 13
Group C: Sweden vs Switzerland – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Netherlands v Portugal – kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Thursday July 14
Group D: Italy vs Iceland – kick off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Belgium – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Friday July 15
Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick off 8pm, St Mary’s
Group A: Austria vs Norway – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Saturday July 16
Group B: Finland vs Germany – kick off 8pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Denmark vs Spain – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Sunday July 17
Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden vs Portugal – kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Monday July 18
Group D: Iceland vs France – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Group D: Italy vs Belgium – kick off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday July 21
Quarter-final 2: Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Friday July 22
Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D – kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Quarter-final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Tuesday July 26
Semi-final 1: Winners quarter-final 1 v Winners quarter-final 3 – kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-final 2: Winners quarter-final 2 v Winners quarter-final 4 – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 – kick off 5pm, Wembley