LAUREN JAMES admits herself that she is a woman of few words.
When she received a phone call from an unknown number in August, a combination of her shyness and easy-going nature meant she let it ring out, only to realise it was Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman telling her she would be making her England debut.
And even when asked if she is happy with her rating of 73 on Fifa 23 â a game that includes womenâs clubs for the first time â she simply replied: âNah.â
After a wry smile, speaking at the Womenâs Football Summit, presented by EA SPORTS, she continued: âI guess the stats are based on last season.
“Hopefully I have a good season and next year my ratings go up.
âBut, it is inspiration for young girls, being able to actually play with women on Fifa.
“When I was growing up, I could only play with the men.
âHad I been able to play the game as a kid and see womenâs faces, I would have thought: âThat could be me one dayâ.
âAnd now, it makes them think: âI want to be up there playingâ.
“They will see us on the screens and want to be like us. It has come a long way.â
Her meteoric rise reached stratospheric levels when recently donning the Lionesses badge for the first time against Austria and Czech Republic.
James said: âMy name has been around for a few years but I still feel young. I am still fresh.
âSometimes it can be forgotten about, my age. I guess I do have a lot to learn and improve and still to prove myself.
âAs long as I keep doing myself and what I am doing each day with the games coming up, it gives me a chance to prove that.
âThere are a lot of superstars at Chelsea. I have had the right support system around me to keep me grounded and trying not to let the pressure hit me.
âAs you can tell I am quite a chilled person so I try not to let it affect me.â
On whether Reece is part of that support system, she said: âWe are both proud of each other but we donât really talk about football together.
âWe have a really close relationship but we tend to keep football separate.
âIf something needs to be said then we talk about it but because we live and breathe it and do it every day, it is nice to talk about other things.â
Jamesâ move to Chelsea last summer was hampered by injuries, with question marks over whether her big move to west London was a mistake.
But she is now a mainstay in a classy Chelsea side that includes the likes of Millie Bright, Erin Cuthbert and Fifa cover-star Sam Kerr.
James agrees it has been nice to prove the doubters wrong, adding: âIt is also a kind of an eye opener to think: âLauren is coming backâ, I am just enjoying my football again.
âI donât let the external noise annoy me. Emma [Hayes] has helped me through it. She also understands the person I am. It is always nice for someone to understand you.â
***Lauren James was speaking at the Womenâs Football Summit, presented by EA SPORTS. FIFA 23, is available worldwide on all platforms now***
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