Rachel Brown-Finnis is determined to seize her opportunity after earning a recall to the England squad.
England women’s head coach Mark Sampson named the Burnley-born Everton goalkeeper for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Shrewsbury Town on May 8th.
A groin problem suffered with the Lionesses in La Manga in January had initially sidelined the 33-year-old, but, having subsequently been left out of the last camp, she is thrilled to be back in the fold as she aims to go to a third World Cup, in Canada next year.
England have won all five qualifiers so far, scoring 29 goals without conceding, and Rachel can’t wait to pull on the Three Lions again: “I’ve been a regular in the squad since 1996, other than injuries, but the last camp was the first when I had reason to be genuinely disappointed.
“But I’m thrilled to be back in the squad - I’d never take it for granted, but non-selection made it very real, it reinforced for me how special it is.
“It felt so special again, and it was pleasing to know that after 18 years in the squad, it still makes me feel as passionate as it first did to play for my country and wear the badge with pride.
“Playing for England has shaped my life, as a player and a person, and I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve earned and been given.
“I definitely want to make the most of it - it’s a short career, and although I’m getting towards the end of that career, I’m not at the end yet.”
Rachel, who has spent over 11 years now with Everton, was in action on Wednesday night as the Toffees started their FA Women’s Super League campaign at Solihull Moors against Birmingham City.
And she admits it will be a big year with club and country, with Canada on the horizon.
England have five games remaining in qualifying - including a trip to Ukraine - amid their current problems - in June.
Rachel has already been to the World Cups in China in 2007 and 2011 in Germany, as well as playing in four European Championships - including the 2009 final in Helsinki against Germany - while she represented Team GB at the London Olympics two years ago.
And she is eager to make the plane for another big tournament: “Everybody is out to stake a claim over the year.
“Everyone has a clean slate under the new manager, and is having to go out and prove themselves over the season, to put themselves in the shop window to get into the squad.
“To go to a third World Cup would be amazing, we didn’t get to one until 2007, and I’d been in the England squad 11 years by then!
“When the group was pulled out, we were hot favourites, and we’ve made an impressive start.”