‘Two girls living the dream’ – Keely Hodgkinson out to emulate friend Ella Toone

The England Commonwealth Games and Euro 2022 stars were at school together in Greater Manchester.

By Press Association Published: 2 August 2022 - 3.33pm

England’s Keely Hodgkinson admits she is living the dream with football hero Ella Toone.

The 20-year-old, in action at the Commonwealth Games, has been inspired by her lifelong friend Toone’s stunning Euro 2022 success.

Toone scored a brilliant opener in England’s 2-1 extra-time win over Germany on Sunday to help the Lionesses win their first major tournament.

Ella Toone, left, scores England’s first goal of the Euro 2022 final at Wembley
Ella Toone, left, scores England’s first goal of the Euro 2022 final at Wembley (Nigel French/PA)

It came after Hodgkinson won 800m silver at last month’s World Championships in Eugene.

The pair went to Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley, Greater Manchester, having grown up together.

“We are just two young girls living their dreams,” said Hodgkinson, who reached Saturday’s 800m final at the Commonwealth Games following Tuesday’s heats.

“I was always referred to as the ‘mini Ella’ growing up at school. So we kept in touch from that and she was in Tokyo last year as well with the football.

“Ella did so well to score as well. I know she’s on cloud nine so big congrats to her, it’s good to see. We went to school together. She was two years older than me but somehow we just ended up getting on really well.

Keely Hodgkinson with her silver medal at the recent World Championships
Keely Hodgkinson won silver at the recent World Championships (Martin Rickett/PA)

“We did some cross countries – I always tended to beat her on the running, that was my forte, but she was naturally very good, she’s got a lot of talent.

“She used to play on our boys’ football team and she was smoking them, so there was absolutely no way she wasn’t going to make it. She’s very good.

“We were raised about four miles away from each other, so it’s putting our hometowns on the map and I know they are very proud of us.

“I thought it (Sunday) was absolutely amazing, I really enjoyed watching it. What that’s going to do for women’s football, women’s sport, I’ve seen all the little girls watching it and it’s really nice for them to see that because before they wouldn’t have had that.”

Hodgkinson is joined in Saturday’s final in Birmingham by England team-mate Alexandra Bell and Scotland’s Laura Muir.

She added: “It’s actually a very world-class field. I feel like the only people missing is probably the Americans and some of the Ethiopians. It’s not going to be easy but I hope I can come away with gold this time.”

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