Sarah Haycroft says that the 24 hours England’s players were allowed to spend at home last week has helped fuel their Women’s World Cup title bid.
The 27-year-old went home to Surbiton ahead of England’s final Pool clash against Ireland and admits they are now fully focused for South Korea tonight.
“It felt odd being at home as we never get to do it at tournaments, but coming back it made us reset,” she said.
One ‘Did you know?’ fact is that Haycroft’s mum is also TV cook Delia Smith’s cousin – but the midfielder preferred to fully relax on her return home.
“My fiance is a teacher and is on school holidays so he cooked me a lovely meal,” she said. “I do like to cook and have all her cookbooks which she sends to us. I’ve learned from the best but I’m not up to her standards!”
But the midfielder says England are ready to cook up a knock-out performance to send them through to the World Cup quarter-finals against the defending champions, Holland.
“Having been centralised, we fine tune such small things,” she added. “We take so much time to go through the ‘what ifs’ and make things count.
“We do scenario based drills or match play and it massively helps us in those pressurised moments in the games where everything matters. We relish these opportunities.
“They will want to make it tight and they can see how much pace we have and won’t want to make it open.”
Haycroft missed out on squad selection for the 2014 World Cup and then at the Rio Olympics, but has been a regular playing member since the new Olympic cycle kicked in.
The Surbiton captain said: “I’ve had quite a rollercoaster career so far. I’m just excited to be out there on home soil in front of our home fans. I’ve missed out on a few big things over the last five years.”
Meanwhile Kathryn Lane, the former England under-21 captain, is looking forward to another big-game experience as the second youngest squad player ahead of Ellie Rayer.
“Any game in a World Cup is tough,” said the 23-year-old. “We are excited to have an extra game because we love playing.
“The crowd is insane. The team is such a support and you know that everyone on the pitch has got your back.”
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