Hinderwell hot-shot Beth Mead helps England seal SheBelieves Cup success
Arsenal and England's Beth Mead fired the Lionesses to SheBelieves Cup success as Phil Neville's side cruised to a 3-0 win over Japan in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday.
Mead, who had scored off the bench in England's 2-2 draw with Brazil and then helped the Lionesses to a 2-2 draw against hosts USA, was named in the starting XI in Tampa and grasped her opportunity with both hands.
Goals from Lucy Staniforth and Karen Carney put England 2-0 up against the Japanese, before Mead latched onto a stunning ball from Keira Walsh before cutting in and lashing home the Lionesses third and final goal with her left-foot.
Speaking before the Japan game, the Whitby-born hot-shot said: “Scoring for your country is something special,” she Mead.
“Also, [the goal against Brazil] was a shot not a cross, just so everyone’s clear.”
The Arsenal star is now clearly trusted by manager Neville, with who Mead has “a good relationship and understanding”, and Mead admits the competition for places keeps her on her toes.
“There aren’t many players who can say they’ve got a definite place in the squad right now,” Mead added.
“I just don’t want to settle myself because I think that’s the worst thing you can do as a footballer.”
Mead is now eyeing a spot in Neville’s 23 for this year's World Cup, and the former Sunderland striker understands the responsibility of being a role model to English youngsters.
“We want to inspire the next generation to push on, know there is a career in football and you can be professional," added Mead.
"As a kid I didn’t think like that, because at that time there was no professionalism in the women’s game. But now, you’re looking at young kids, watching us play in the World Cup.
“It just makes you feel a bit warm inside that you’re having that effect on a completely different generation.
"I feel like we owe it to people to make them proud, feel the effort that we’re putting in, and the passion that we have for this country to do well.”