Forward Beth Mead is confident England Women can shake off their World Cup hangover and head into 2020 with renewed energy on the road towards hosting the European Championship.
The Lionesses ended 2019 with a welcome win against the Czech Republic in a snowy Ceske Budejovice following three defeats in six matches since losing in the World Cup semi-finals.
Head coach Phil Neville maintains the hard work must begin again in earnest when the squad regroup ahead of the SheBelieves Cup and start building towards the long-term aim of success at Euro 2021 on home soil.
Mead feels some downtime can help everyone return fully focused for the challenges ahead.
“It has been a busy year in terms of the World Cup where we did well, but we fell short, then afterwards we kind of had a little bit of a World Cup hangover, when we weren’t playing too well,” Mead told the PA news agency.
“Think the girls need to recharge mentally and physically, then hopefully come back in the new year and be firing on all cylinders.”
Mead added: “We have got to get to another level now, to keep striving for more because you can see when the other teams play against us, they want to beat us now.
“It is very important to keep moving forward in the right direction, to be competing with and beating the big teams.”
As well as the Lionesses playing against Germany in front of a bumper Wembley crowd, this year has also seen the FA Women’s Super League hit record attendances – with Tottenham hosting Arsenal in front of 38,262 fans.
Mead, currently recovering from a badly bruised leg suffered during the WSL win at Everton, believes the women’s game can continue to go from strength to strength.
“It is a great platform since the World Cup that we have been able to put these WSL games on. For me playing in front of 38,000 at the Tottenham Stadium which is brand new was quite surreal,” Mead said.
“It is something that as female professional players we want to get used to.
“We have to then keep driving with the league and as individuals to improve so that people want to keep coming to watch us.
“Hopefully we can continue to do that, to get the crowds two games and then it can grow from there.”
Mead took time out this week to help surprise youngsters at Risborough Rangers Pan-disability Junior Football Club who were learning about the accessibility features on a new smartphone, including a ‘PocketVision’ app which makes it easier for partially sighted people to read day-to-day text more clearly.
The Arsenal forward said: “It was really exciting to see how the technology helps make everything so inclusive.
“The fact that the Lionesses have been on board with things like this shows how far we have all come. It is nice for us to be able to give a platform to help out.”
:: England and Arsenal forward Beth Mead helped give young footballers a festive surprise to celebrate the launch of the new HONOR 9X smartphone. For more information, visit www.hihonor.com/uk