Hearing home fans sing national anthem giving England ‘extra push’ – Keira Walsh

Walsh says having the backing of the home fans is ‘definitely special’.

By Press Association Published: 22 July 2022 - 9.30pm

England’s Keira Walsh cannot wait to belt out another hair-raising rendition of the national anthem ahead of Tuesday’s Euro 2022 semi-final at Bramall Lane.

The Lionesses will play Sweden for a place in the Wembley final after their thrilling extra-time win against Spain on Wednesday.

Walsh feels singing ‘God Save The Queen’ best encapsulates the growing excitement about the Lionesses’ chances of lifting their first major trophy.

The Manchester City midfielder said: “For me, it’s when we’re singing the national anthem.

“You can hear it echoing around the stadium and it’s such a special feeling and one we’ve not experienced before because we’ve not had a home tournament.

“It does give you that little bit of an extra push. Of course every tournament is important, but having the home crowd behind you is definitely special and I hope we can continue doing it for the semi-final.”

Walsh has played every minute for England at the tournament so far, with head coach Sarina Wiegman naming an unchanged starting line-up for the three group games and the last-eight win against Spain.

Keira Walsh, centre, was substituted during extra time against Spain but has started every game for England at Euro 2022
Keira Walsh, centre, was substituted during extra-time against Spain but has started every game for England at Euro 2022 (Gareth Fuller/PA)

When asked if there was a risk of player fatigue, Walsh said: “I think in the three group games it helped that we had a lot of possession. Doing the work on the ball is naturally a lot easier than off the ball.

“But I think the staff we have behind the team – the physios, sports scientists – are always putting us in the best shape, we do the best recovery to always be ready to play.

“But it’s credit to the whole squad because Alessia (Russo) and (Ella) Toone have been unbelievable when they’ve come on.

“Jill (Scott) and Keets (Nikita Parris), everyone who has come on has made an impact and played a part and they’ve got us to this point and hopefully we can go one step further.”

Walsh also paid tribute to coach Wiegman, who guided her home country the Netherlands to Euro glory in 2017 and the World Cup final two years later.

Wiegman took charge of the Lionesses in September 2021 and Wednesday’s win extended her unbeaten tenure to 18 matches.

Walsh added: “I just think it’s just that she’s so relaxed. She doesn’t put pressure on anyone. When you make a mistake in training or in a game, she’s not barking at you on the side.

“(It is) her presence and she’s so calm, really positive and even at half-time she won’t come in and start screaming.

“She always says the right thing in the right moment and she’s been massively important for us and so have the backroom staff as well as the technical staff. We’re just in a really good place.”

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