Goalkeeper Sandy MacIver of England. Norway v England Womens Friendly football match, Brann Stadion, Bergen, Norway - 03 Sep 2019 Photo: Lynne Cameron for The FA

‘The number one shirt up for grabs is really exciting’- Everton’s MacIver on England competition

Everton goalkeeper Sandy MacIver believes that she is more than ready to fight for her place between the sticks for England ahead of tomorrow’s international friendly fixture against Northern Ireland.

MacIver, 22, says she is working hard every day and is constantly learning, but she knows the task of becoming England number one is a marathon not a sprint. As the oldest ‘keeper in the camp, and with some impressive performances at club-level behind her, the Cheshire-born shot-stopper has caught the eye of interim England coach Hege Riise.

The Everton number one understands the honour to represent the Lionesses but as a potential debut cap beckons, she knows that it won’t be easy.

Speaking at England’s media day in which FAWSL Full-Time were present, MacIver said “With our current goalkeeping situation at England, we (the three of us chosen) have as much of a chance as each other and when I see there is a number one shirt up for grabs it does make it more exciting.

“The competition between the three ‘keepers in the camp is motivating because we can all push ourselves. I’m alongside two really good goalkeepers in Ellie (Roebuck) and Hannah (Hampton) where those two alone really shows the strength of the group and the three of us all pushing forward now is only going to help ourselves.

MacIver went on to discuss the level of competition for the goalkeeping jersey at her club. The player said that the environment at Everton prepares her perfectly for international duty.

“At Everton I work with Tinja-Riikka Korpela who is a very experienced goalkeeper having played for Bayern Munich and getting many caps for Finland,” said MacIver.

“I go into club training everyday knowing I need to put 110% into everything as there’s no room for slack.

“The standard is so high that when you go to an international environment you don’t need to make that step-up.”

MacIver stamped her authority at the highest level with a superb individual performance in the 2019/2020 Vitality Women’s FA Cup final against Manchester City in November. MacIver unfortunately came out with a runners-up medal, but an individual award for the Player of the Match softened the blow.

MacIver’s journey to the top hasn’t always been smooth sailing though, a tough spell in America helped her develop as a person and establish herself as a player.

“Going to America helped me mature not only as a goalkeeper but as a person as I was so far away from home for the first time, it’s an opportunity I’ll never regret taking,” said the Everton goalkeeper.

This isn’t MacIver’s first role in the England set-up as she has been with the Lionesses throughout various youth levels in the past. She has won caps with the Under-17s, Under-19s and Under-20s; she was also part of the senior squad which completed at the SheBelieves Cup in 2019 but despite not playing, it was still a valuable learning experience.

She added “Even working under the likes of KB (Karen Bardsley) and Carly (Telford) I just learnt so much and they in themselves are such supportive people that they’re always willing to help you.

“It was beneficial for me as I start my journey into the England squad.”

England’s international friendly fixture against Northern Ireland will take place at 12.30pm tomorrow afternoon and will be screened live on the BBC Red Button and on the BBC iPlayer.

Article author: Dominic Pendleton

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