Charley looks back on a memorable season
Report by Sue Prior
Page last updated at 8:38PM BST, Monday, 13 June 2011
After an impressive two seasons in the Charlton Women’s first team, midfielder Charley Clifford was rewarded last year with a place in the England under 19 squad, making nine appearances.
Report by David Brenchley
She reflected on her season to remember, which also saw her play an integral role in leading the Addicks to promotion to the Premier League National Division, at The Valley recently.
“I was really nervous the first time I went but once you get to know all the girls and the coaching staff you have a really good time and I really enjoyed going away with England,” she said.
“Once you get to know them, they are all really nice and then you start going out with them outside football as well so you are always bonding with them.
“I have learnt so much from [the coaches]. I think that on my first camp it was the most I have ever learnt playing football.
That helped me with my club football as well because I have brought ideas [in to Charlton] and they have been agreeing so that is really good.”
The U19s have an impressive set up, with Everton Ladies manager Mo Marley as their coach and Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs, who has played in both the FA WSL and Champions League with the North Londoners, as skipper – both of whom Clifford speaks highly of.
“Mo is amazing,” she added, “there isn’t really any other word to describe her. She knows absolutely everything about football, you can ask her about anything and she will give you a good answer.
“Jordan was our captain and when you are playing with her she never stops talking to you and, for the sort of player I am, I need that so that has helped me to improve.”
The U19s narrowly failed to qualify for the European Championships, which Clifford admits was disappointing but she hopes the 2009 champions will come back stronger and qualify for next year’s tournament.
“It was disappointing but we just have to look at how we played, analyse it and see how we can improve. Hopefully we can then take that into next year and qualify for the next finals.
“Hopefully, if I keep playing well for Charlton and we can continue playing well, I will get chosen again.”
The ambitions Charley has of representing England again will only be helped by the fact that she and her team mates will be playing in the National Division next season.
The 18-year-old is looking forward to the challenge and believes their FA Cup exploits last term will stand them in good stead for the future.
“I am looking forward to going to different places and playing against different girls you don’t really know,” she said.
“After playing in the Southern Division for a couple of years you get to know the players you come up against but it is going to be a totally different challenge next season.
“We beat Reading [in the FA Cup, despite being reduced to 10 players early on] and I felt we were comfortable when we had eleven players on the pitch; we were beating them with ease.
“That was the turning point. We were without Gemma [Bryan] because she was suspended and Kimmy [Dixson] was injured. We just went out there and gave our all and the players that came in, Jen [Newman] and Fran [Ali], scored our goals.
“That [game] boosted our confidence and we believed in ourselves [after it].”