Euro 2022 starts today and the Lionesses are among the favourites. Is this our year?
I hate to talk too much about tournaments because it’s about who turns up on the day… but it’s got to be, hasn’t it? The squad is strong with a lot of young players, and every time we host a tournament, the crowd gets behind them.
Could you have played for England?
There’s times when I’m not getting a cut on a song or have lost a job when I wish I’d stayed playing football. But when I was 16, every other professional I knew had a second job, so I went for music. Now I get the best of both worlds, whether I’m on TV doing Freeze The Fear or The Games, doing a podcast or writing music, and I play football now with Merseyrail. We just got promoted to the National League and I’ve got a good manager who allows me to do other things, then come back and fight for a place.
There must be some banter when you go off to do music…
Yeah, if I’m going to LA or something then I don’t get the ball passed to me for a bit! But the girls know I try to bring attention to the team and the game every time I can. As long as I’m doing that and not taking myself too seriously, I’m all right.
Have you ever put any of your own music on in the dressing room?
Absolutely not! I wouldn’t even be training with the reserves if I did that.
How important has National Lottery funding been to women’s football?
It’s made a huge difference – I’ve seen so much change since I started playing when I was nine. We’d scramble around for a matching pair of socks or be in the boys’ kit they didn’t want, but now you’ve got women’s kits being made for women’s bodies. With the Lionesses doing so well in tournaments and the WSL coming up, girls can believe that being a professional footballer is a real option.
How did you enjoy being on the winning team for this year’s Soccer Aid?
Well, the only thing I did in that game was tackle [former West Ham captain] Mark Noble, which is still living with me. There were no hard feelings! His kids and his wife came over and congratulated me – I think they were quite happy to see him put on his bum by a woman.
Have you ever met a footballer who can sing?
Robbie Keane loves an Irish jig, so he’ll get up and give it some, but last year at Soccer Aid Clarence Seedorf came out with the absolute tunes, smooth soul, and the room just went silent.
One of the first songs you wrote was Million Miles for Kylie…
Yeah, I was getting cuts for German artists no one had heard of but as soon as my friends saw my name on a Kylie Minogue album, they were like, ‘She’s a real songwriter!’
Do you ever get star-struck?
More by producers than artists. I love people with a story who I can learn from, and Nile Rodgers has lived through so much and has incredible stories about Madonna and David Bowie. Also RedOne, who co-wrote Poker Face and Bad Romance. I’m a huge Lady Gaga fan so I used to tweet him, going, ‘One day I’m gonna meet you!’ He never replied. Then I got a call to say I was doing a session with him in LA and it was a real life moment: me from Liverpool, who used to sit in my bedroom and dream about being a songwriter in LA.
Who did you idolise growing up?
I wasn’t jumping at girls like Beyoncé and J.Lo, who were rolling around on a beach. I didn’t want to wear a dress, I was more comfortable in jeans, so for me it was about Avril Lavigne and Pink, who were a bit ballsy and didn’t really care what people thought.
It’s been good to see so many high-profile sportspeople coming out recently, like Jake Daniels and Kelly Holmes. Is sport moving in the right direction on this?
I don’t like to talk about other people’s sexuality because it’s personal, but I’m only happy and comfortable in my own skin because of the people who came before me. I get messages now from young girls and guys saying, ‘Do you have any idea how much it helps just to see someone on TV speaking so freely?’ As long as I have a voice, I’ll never shy away from who I am.
I’d love to do more sport documentaries and dive into ADHD, which I got diagnosed with last year and which made complete sense. Otherwise, I’ve got a song of my own out on August 19 and I’m getting back to writing songs, playing football and sharing my message.
For ten years National Lottery players have helped invest more than £50million into football in ways which benefit the women’s game, including funding specific programmes as part of the Women’s Euros legacy.
Metro.co.uk celebrates 50 years of Pride
This year marks 50 years of Pride, so it seems only fitting that Metro.co.uk goes above and beyond in our ongoing LGBTQ+ support, through a wealth of content that not only celebrates all things Pride, but also share stories, take time to reflect and raises awareness for the community this Pride Month.
And we’ve got some great names on board to help us, too. From a list of famous guest editors taking over the site for a week that includes Rob Rinder, Nicola Adams, Peter Tatchell, Kimberly Hart-Simpson, John Whaite, Anna Richardson and Dr Ranj, as well as the likes of Sir Ian McKellen and Drag Race stars The Vivienne, Lawrence Chaney and Tia Kofi offering their insights.
During Pride Month, which runs from 1 – 30 June, Metro.co.uk will also be supporting Kyiv Pride, a Ukrainian charity forced to work harder than ever to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community during times of conflict, and youth homelessness charity AKT. To find out more about their work, and what you can do to support them, click here.
For Metro.co.uk‘s latest Pride coverage, click here.