Pride of the Lionesses: Father of England Women's World Cup hero hails Phil Neville's squad after Norway triumph
Lucy Staniforth’s father has spoken of his immense pride after seeing England Women reach the semi-final of the World Cup.
Staniforth, who grew up in Alnwick and later captained Sunderland Ladies, is part of Phil Neville’s squad who are now just 90 minutes away from their first-ever World Cup final.
And her dad, former professional footballer Gordon, has been left beaming with pride after her involvement in the landmark tournament.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits for her,” he said.
“She just keeps saying she’s living the dream.
“She’s part of this 23-player squad and I was speaking to Peter Beardsley the other day and he said ‘there’s only 23 females who play in an England team who play in a World Cup every four years’. How good is that?“Yes, she’s only got on for a few minutes but she’s part of that squad and I’m really proud that she’s part of it.
““It’s a dream. I’m really, really pleased and proud.
“The thing I keep thinking is that I wish I was on the pitch. I wish it was me!”
This isn’t the first time Staniforth has played in a World Cup - having previously represented her country in the under-17 edition of the tournament in 2008.
But that prior experience hasn’t helped Gordon deal with the nerves of watching his daughter on the world stage,
“I went out for two games in New Zealand and that was really nerve-wracking,” he admitted.
“It was her first taste of international football and it was a completely different kettle of fish.
“But I’m still as nervous as ever. I’m biting my nails every game.”
England will face either hosts France or pre-tournament favourites USA in the semi-final on July 2.
So how will Staniforth senior feel if he sees his daughter take to the field?
“I’d just have to pinch myself!
“And I’d have to say well done, for all the hardship she’s gone through.
“She’s had to come back from two serious knee injuries and you don’t see the sweat and the tears that go in to being a top international player.”