Rachel Brown-Finnis linked up with England Women for a 10-day training camp on Tuesday, ahead of an historic date.
The Burnley-born Everton keeper is part of head coach Mark Sampson’s 26-player squad for the camp at St George’s Park, as they prepare for a first-ever Wembley date against Germany next month, and next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Now 34, Brown-Finnis is aiming to go to her eighth major international tournament, and add to her 82 caps for her country, spanning a remarkable 17 years.
She is one of a goalkeeping pool of four in Burton this week, including Karen Bardsley of Manchester City, Arsenal’s Siobhan Chamberlain and Carly Telford of Notts County.
Her international ambitions will hopefully help dull the pain of relegation with Everton Ladies, who were recently relegated to the Women’s Superleague 2, after 26 years of top flight football - and following an appearance in the FA Women’s Cup Final at stadium:mk, as Brown-Finnis played in her fourth final, in a 2-0 defeat against Arsenal.
This week’s camp is a prelude to England v Germany at Wembley on Sunday, November 23rd - the first time that England Women will have played at the new Wembley Stadium, taking on the European champions.
Brown-Finnis was part of the Team GB squad which beat Brazil 1-0 at Wembley two years ago in the Olympic Games in front of a crowd of 70,584 - a record for a women’s match in Britain.
But England - who were scheduled to play at Wembley after it’s reopening in 2007 - have yet to run out at the national stadium.
Ahead of the camp, head coach Sampson said: “Every opportunity that we can work together as a group is crucially important to us in the lead up to the World Cup.
“The challenge now is to raise the bar every time we are together, starting with this camp.
“Our focus will be on developing every aspect of our game and ask the players to push themselves to another level.
“We have a strong, talented group and competition for places is fierce so every player knows this is an important camp. We also have a strong test against a very good German side at Wembley, so this time will be useful in starting our preparations.”