Harpenden schoolgirl ready to kick her football career to the next level

Harpenden's Anna Patten in her England kit. Picture: SPORTSFILE

Harpenden's Anna Patten in her England kit. Picture: SPORTSFILE - Credit: SPORTSFILE

Harpenden’s Anna Patten is hoping to take her football career to the next level during 2017 – starting with this week’s England U19 friendlies.

The 17-year-old played every minute of her country’s U17 World cup campaign, as the young lionessess made the quarter-finals.

But she is determined that her experience will be just the start of a glittering career.

England U19s face Norway in back-to-back friendlies on Thursday and Saturday at St George’s Park

The St George’s School pupil said: “Playing against Norway will be a good way to see where I am at. We’ve had Christmas since our last game but I’ve been back in training, though it’s not quite the same as getting the chance to play competitively.

“We’ve got the European U19 Women’s Championships in the summer and from there comes qualification for the U20 World Cup so it’s certainly a big year.

“But to get there I need to keep putting in all the work, keep training hard and doing what’s needed to get my chances.”

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And it’s not just on the international scene where Patten wants to make her mark.

She is also hoping to make the Arsenal Ladies squad for the upcoming FA Women’s Super League Spring Series.

“Arsenal have got such a great squad and it’s always going to be hard to break into that, especially as they train while I’m still at school,” she said.

“It would be great to get the odd minute on the pitch, but at the moment I’m happy to be training and trying to gain as much experience as possible.”

Moving from the reserves to Arsenal training was admittedly a star-struck moment for Patten, though she is growing in confidence with the new season on the horizon.

“I never thought I’d be doing stuff like that this time last year,” added Patten, who benefits from being part of the SSE Next Generation programme.

“The journey has been really good, I’ve been given a lot of opportunities and a lot of minutes with England and I’m very grateful for that.

“Some of those [Arsenal] players were in the first team when I initially joined six seasons ago; they were the people I’d be watching from the crowd and now getting the opportunity to play with them is really quite surreal.”

SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future.

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