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National team training whets Ilford student’s appetite for football success

Grace Gillard Grace Gillard

Friday, December 6, 2013
6:00 AM

Grace Gillard of Oaks Park sixth form admitted that training with the England Women’s under-17’s team was an amazing experience and it has only added to her ambitions.

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The 16-year-old trained with the national team for the first time recently and thoroughly enjoyed her experience.

“It was really good, we trained on Saturday and did a two-hour session in the morning and another two hours in the afternoon,” said Grace.

“I learnt a lot from the coaches and also from the players, now I have trained I want to get in the squad. My aim is to play for England.”

The Ilford girl, who plays for Essex Girls’ Centre of Excellence, was training with players who represent the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Everton.

She relished testing herself and hopes to follow in the footsteps of friend and former team-mate Evie Clarke.

“It was a big test, but also a great opportunity to compare yourself to these players and see how they play,” said the youngster.

“Now I have trained I know how they play and what the coaches look for so I can change my game to suit that.

“One of my friends, Evie Clarke, actually got called up to play for England and then joined Arsenal from there so it can be a building block to bigger things. I would love to follow in her footsteps.”

Whilst at St Georges Park, she got the opportunity to talk with both the England under-17 and 19 head coaches.

She admitted both gave her valuable advice and she now has some targets in mind, she added: “I had a good chat with Lois (Fidler) about what I did.

“I also had a chat with the under-19s coach Mo Marley because when this season ends I will be moving up to hopefully play for them.

“And at the end of the season, loads of scouts will come over to watch us so hopefully I can impress and get a contract.”

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