It only needs a few words from Lizzie Durack to establish that she is not your average England international. The Aussie accent, thick and unmistakable, makes that perfectly clear.

Delve a little deeper, though, and it becomes evident that Durack is out of the ordinary in more ways than one. Not many footballers, certainly, are to be found majoring in human development regenerative biology at Harvard University. Yet even that is not the most remarkable element to this young keeper's story.

Durack only turned 20 last month, but has already made her debut for England's senior team, and was named as one of the ten best players in the UEFA European U-19 Women's Championship. By any standards, she is one of her position's rising stars.

Yet, four years ago - aged just 16 - she was told that she was "not good enough" and "would never play international football again". It was a seemingly incredible and ultimately misguided prediction, but the person making it was one of Durack's youth coaches in Australia, whom she had represented at U-17 level.

Naturally, the verdict represented a crushing blow to the youngster's ambitions. But while plenty of others - especially at such a tender age - would have wilted in the face of such rejection, Durack responded with a show of strength and self-belief hugely impressive in one so young.

"I just didn't agree," she told "And I thought, 'I'm not just going to accept that.' I always believed in myself, but I also had great support at my club team, who always showed great faith in me. So although this one coach with the national team was telling me I wasn't good enough, I also had plenty of other people reassuring me that I was.

"It was a combination of people telling me to keep going and me being stubborn, thinking: 'There's no way I'm giving up on this.' I'd obviously grown up in Australia and had always pictured myself being a part of the set-up there. But you have to roll with the punches."

English opportunity
For Durack, the process of coming back off the ropes began almost immediately. Australia's snub might have blocked her most obvious entrance to international football but it was not, she quickly realised, the only route she had open. "My mum was born and raised in England, so I had it in the back of my mind that that might be an option," she explained.

"About a year passed before England got in touch, and the opportunity actually arose through Harvard. They were contacted to see if they had any English goalkeepers playing there, and they knew about my dual citizenship.

"For me, there was no hesitation in saying yes - it was an idea I'd really warmed to - and everyone connected with the team has made me feel so welcome. The girls have become some of my best friends, and I think that closeness was a big factor in us doing so well at the EURO. None of us wanted to go home at the end.

"My mum loves it too, having me play for her country, although she's still based in Australia, so her and my dad haven't seen me play for England yet. Hopefully if all goes well, and I'm selected, they'll be able to do that in Canada at the U-20 World Cup."

Durack's humility and refusal to be presumptuous about her inclusion in England's squad is, of course, to be admired. It seems highly unlikely, though, that coach Mo Marley will go without a player who not only starred during qualifying, but has since graduated to the senior ranks. And with England's women currently impressing at all age levels, Durack had a warning for the teams that will come up against them at Canada 2014.

"We have a philosophy of being very strong defensively and great ethics in that respect," she said. "But we're also a team that has a lot of firepower up front; Nikita Parris [the in-form Everton striker] is flying at the moment, and there's a lot of speed in the attack. We definitely don't just sit back, and anyone who plays us in Canada will see that."

Strong, positive and fiercely determined, England's qualities could even be said to mirror those of their promising young keeper.