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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Casey Stoney on England, Team GB, David Beckham and mentoring

England women’s captain Casey Stoney has won more than 100 caps for her country – but admits she is not assuming that will be enough to win selection for Team GB.

In an exclusive interview with Total Football editor Mark Roach, Stoney talks about the England team, London 2012, David Beckham, her new role as a Sky Sports Living for Sport athlete mentor, and the development of the women’s game.

Motivation and inspiration

Casey Stoney’s inspirational life story is one of the reasons she has been selected as a Sky Sports Living for Sport mentor.

Living for Sport, in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust, uses sports stars as mentors to improve the lives of thousands of young people.

Stoney has been selected for the programme because of her unique and inspiring personal journey, which has seen her overcome the disappointment of England under 16s rejection to go on and captain her country.

“It’s a great initiative,” said Stoney. “I’ve always been interested in inspiring children and helping them to make good life decisions.

“The key messages that I can deliver come from my own experiences. Growing up as a girl playing football was difficult and my home life was quite volatile, but my message is that if you work hard you can achieve what you want, and if someone tells you you can’t do something, it’s an opportunity for you to prove them wrong.”

‘I almost quit’

The Lincoln Ladies and England captain admits she almost quit international football in 2005, but made a decision to continue.

It paid off. In 2007 she won the International Player of the Year award.

“That was a massive highlight for me and gave me a lot of confidence. There are a lot of people out there who doubt themselves at times and I am no different.

"Leading England out against Japan in the World Cup in 2007 was one of the biggest highlights for me, and winning my 100th cap for England was also for all of those people who have helped me along the way.”

Stoney believes the England team is in good shape. In 2009, she won a European Championship Silver, and reached the World Cup quarter-finals with England in 2007 and 2011.

“We are making good strides and moving in the right direction, we just need to be more consistent.”

Team GB ambitions

The England captain’s greatest achievement could be yet to come, but she says she still has work to do to earn her Team GB place.

“The London Olympics is coming up and it’s one of the most exciting times for British sport ever. It will be the biggest highlight for me if I am selected, but I am not taking anything for granted. I will just continue to work hard and hope I can do enough to be selected.”

David Beckham is in a similar situation for the men’s team. He has made it on to Stuart Pearce’s 80 man Team GB shortlist, and Stoney would like to see him involved at the Olympics.

“I definitely think there is a place for him somewhere. He is still a fantastic player and he’s a great ambassador for the game.”

Stoney, who will be 30 on May 13, says her proudest moment to date is making the decision to continue her footballing journey.

‘Proudest moment’

“I didn’t get a game at the 2005 European Championships and after all the hard work I’d put in I considered quitting.

“My proudest moment was deciding I was going to give it a real go, then leading England out against Japan at the World Cup in 2007.”

Stoney is pleased to be part of a sport that is growing – and says her short term goal is to do all that she can to give her a chance for selection for Hope Powell’s London 2012 Team GB squad.

“Women’s football is moving in the right direction,” she said. “We have the Champions League now and attendances are getting bigger.

“As for my own personal goals, I want to stay fit, work hard and hopefully put myself in contention for the Olympics.”

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