- Georgia Stanway is a forward with Manchester City Women
- 18-year-old balances professional football with studies
- *Has ambitions of one day graduating to the England senior team *
Like any avid follower of the women’s game, Georgia Stanway could not take her eyes off the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Glued to the television at her home in northern England as the Lionesses stormed to a bronze-medal finish, the then 16-year-old was in awe of compatriots like Jill Scott, Lucy Bronze and captain Steph Houghton.
Not long after the dust had settled on Canada 2015, Stanway secured a dream move to English giants Manchester City, meaning the teenager would share a training pitch with the heroes she had been captivated by at the global showpiece.
“It was absolutely mind-blowing,” said Stanway, in conversation with FIFA.com. “Heading to Man City at 16 and leaving my family home was a massive step. But the girls made me feel at home and part of the team.
“I feel like I can definitely be myself and my cheeky side has started to come out,” she laughed. “I always joke that I’m training with Steph Houghton MBE and she starts laughing! But from my perspective, it’s unbelievable to be in the same team as them. I don’t think they realise the massive impact they’ve made on the younger generation in England.”
Nearly two years have passed since arriving at City and if anything, Stanway’s dream journey has become even more remarkable. At just 18, the forward already boasts a Women’s Super League medal, has cut her teeth in the UEFA Women’s Champions League and lifted the Women’s FA Cup in front of 35,000 at Wembley.
“Winning the FA Cup is the kind of thing you dream of as a kid but when it comes true, you don’t realise the full extent of what’s happened,” Stanway said. “It was when we were lifting the trophy at the end that it hit me and it was just so overwhelming. It makes you want to go out and do it again.”
* Role models *Houghton, Bronze and Toni Duggan; as a young up-and-coming player, Stanway is certainly not short of role models at City to receive invaluable experience and advice. The forward also finds herself in the incredible position of being able to learn first-hand from The Best FIFA Women’s Player Carli Lloyd, who joined the English champions earlier this year.
“Carli Lloyd is a player I’ve always looked up to, as well as Toni Duggan and Germany’s Anja Mittag. They’re definitely players that I aspire to be like,” said Stanway. “Sometimes my age gets forgotten when you’re playing senior football and, at 18, I have to bide my time and keep learning from the likes of Carli, the England seniors – Lucy [Bronze], Steph [Houghton] and Toni – so that I can get to the level they’re at in the future.”
*International ambitions *While the young gun is still a student of the game, Stanway’s experience and early success makes her a role model for players her own age. Demonstrating leadership qualities, the precocious talent finished as England's top goalscorer at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Jordan 2016, playing a vital role in helping the Young Lionesses reach the quarter-finals.
“The [U-17 Women’s] World Cup was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. To be able to play out in Jordan, a country that I would probably never have visited, and to play against the world’s best, it was amazing. We did well to reach the quarter-finals and it shows how far we’ve come as an England side.
“Personally, to score three goals at a World Cup, it was another level for me and makes the whole experience even sweeter.”
After getting a taste of international football at youth level, Stanway naturally has her sights set on graduating to the senior Lionesses set-up someday. “My aim for the future is to be a regular starter at City, make my senior England debut and, hopefully, feature regularly there too.”
For now though, the grounded 18-year-old is focused on taking her A-Level exams, and has even been receiving a helping hand from her club team-mates with her studying.
“The girls ask me questions now and again to help me with revision and the flash cards come out on the coach when we’re travelling, so they’re helping me in every way they can to make sure I pass them!”