ᑕ❶ᑐ Euro 2022: Beth Mead says football is her safe space

England striker Beth Mead says football is her “safe space” against challenges off the pitch and she uses it to bounce back from disappointments.

Mead, who was left out of Team Britain’s Olympic squad last year, is joint top scorer at Euro 2022 ahead of Sunday’s final against Germany.

The prospect of winning a first major tournament and the Golden Boot is not being taken for granted by Mead.

“Football is my safe space, a place where I can escape sometimes,” she said.

“I probably saw myself playing football, everything was fine and dandy because everything was going well. I struggled off the field this year.

“I had a lot of support around me who helped me. I guess I used my football to get rid of the emotions I had off the field. »

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The Arsenal forward responded impressively to the Olympic setback and personal challenges last year.

Alongside a fantastic season in the Women’s Super League, Mead continued to deliver for England under Sarina Wiegman.

She scored four goals in a 10-0 World Cup qualifying win over North Macedonia in April after scoring a hat-trick at Wembley in the win over Northern Ireland and in November’s victory over Latvia.

Mead currently tops the Euro 2022 goalscoring charts alongside Germany’s Alexandra Popp with six goals and three assists in five starts.

“I was frustrated at times last year and wanted to play better, but that’s easier said than done. You want to go out and do your best, but sometimes things don’t always go well,” Mead said.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself and thought a lot about a lot of things. Enjoying and playing freely was the main thing that helped me this year. »

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“It became easy to talk to each other”

Beth Mead has started every game for England so far this tournament

Mead has said in the past that playing “gritty” and having fire in her belly helped her get back into shape.

But the prolific winger no longer feels he has to be.

“I wouldn’t say I’m angry anymore. I channeled my energy in the right way and was able to put it more consistently on the court,” she added.

As the British team competed at the Olympics, Mead followed England’s men to Euro 2020 and received advice from former Lionesses during the final.

“That was definitely the point where I was a little disappointed. They just told me to put my head down, work hard and enjoy playing again,” Mead said.

“It’s something I’ve done this season. I feel good since this advice. »

The culture that Wiegman fostered in the English camp helped Mead’s “safe place” thrive.

“When we talk to each other, it’s because we want the best in everyone. In the past we might have taken it a little personally, but now we know it’s for the greater good of the team,” said Mead.

“Things are much better since Sarina’s arrival. We did things off the field that made us more comfortable with each other.

“We really believe in what we say and that it doesn’t go any further. It became easy to talk to each other. »

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“I loved being in the men’s final”

England set up a final with Germany after beating Sweden 4-0 in the semi-finals, but Mead said it “didn’t feel right” until days later.

It was the perfect way to end what she describes as “an amazing year of growth.”

“It’s been a journey but to be here and take part in the EC, it was a dream come true for me with the disappointment of last year,” she added.

“It’s special to play for your country, but also in front of your family and friends – people who mean the most to you and who have been there through good times and bad. »

Mead admitted she didn’t think she would make it to a European Championship final herself when she watched the men in their penalty shoot-out loss to Italy last year.

“I loved the final, the atmosphere was crazy. It was a night I remembered for a long time,” Mead said.

“I didn’t think a year later would be in the final at Wembley playing for my country, but dreams can come true.

“I really hope we can create those memories.”

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