“I probably underestimated how much attention was going to be on the games,” says Walsh, sitting in the canteen of City’s clean and crisp Academy Stadium. “I’d played in the FA Cup final, Champions League semi finals, I’ll be fine,” she had thought when players had warned her the pressure would be ramped up.
“But I really did struggle with the criticism off the back of it. There were times when I thought: ‘Is this actually for me? Do I want to play football any more?’”
Huge jump from club football to the world stage…
“I think people forget that it was my first tournament,” she says. “Leah [Williamson], Georgia [Stanway], they’ve all been to tournaments with England youth age groups. I got picked for one, at 15, and I never got picked again. I’ve never really been to anything like the World Cup before and I was in and out of the team up until that point. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was a bit of a shock.
“Because I’ve played and started at Man City for five years I think people do forget that I’m still only 22. Sometimes people are very critical of me, which is fine, I can learn to deal with it, but people do tend to forget that I’ve still got time to improve and this isn’t the finished product by any means.”
I was not aware she’s only 22. In most cases I’m not aware of ages, it’s mostly the ones who have been on youth NT’s and gets their age mentioned all the time when they do well at club level early on. (Hemp, James, etc)