Georgia Stanway: From U7s to Team GB Olympian

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Hege Riise announced her 18-player squad that will be on the plane heading to Tokyo. These women will represent Great Britain at the Olympics this summer. One of the players selected was 22-year-old Georgia Stanway. The Manchester City forward was chosen alongside 10 of her club teammates. 

Speaking at the Team GB media day, Stanway expressed her gratitude to be selected to go to Japan. “It’s an unreal feeling to be here. Just to see the girls here, everybody is here, I was driving in and it’s really hard for me to put into words because I’m that over the moon around it all, it’s a very surreal feeling and it’s something that I’ve worked so hard for this season. So, it’s unbelievable, the fact that it’s here now and yeah, I can’t wait to get going.”

Career so far

A young Georgia Stanway with her future teammate, Manchester City captain Steph Houghton. (Photo courtesy of Blackburn Rovers Ladies FC)

Born in Barrow-in-Furness, the centre-forward started playing football from a young age. Throughout her childhood she was passionate about kicking a ball around and joined her elder brother’s under 7s team. Her determination and skill grew, resulting in her signing for Blackburn Rovers. Stanway progressed through the youth ranks at Rovers Centre of Excellence before breaking into the senior squad during the 2014/15 campaign. 

Switch to the Northwest

After four years with Blackburn, Stanway made the move to the Etihad in July 2015. Following a very auspicious start, she has become a key member of Manchester City. Stanway made her first team debut at the age of 16 in a 5-0 victory over Durham in the Continental Cup. The following month, she scored her first goal for the club in a 2-0 win against Everton. She has gone on to become City’s second all-time scorer with 55 goals across all competitions. 

During her six years in the blue of Manchester City, Stanway has won all the domestic trophies. This includes the Barclay’s FA WSL in 2016, which was part of a double winning season. The club also lifted the Women’s Continental Cup after a 1-0 victory over Birmingham City. 

Stanway battles with her Olympic teammate, Arsenal’s Leah Williamson. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

More recently she has lifted back to back trophies with City in the Women’s FA Cup at Wembley. Stanway tallied a goal in each final. In the 2019 final, she received the SSE Player of the Match Award. The 2020 edition saw Stanway’s extra-time effort become the match winner. The young forward has shone brightly throughout the beginning of her footballing career. She recently became only the fifth Manchester City Women’s player to make 150 appearances for the club. 

Shining on the international stage

Stanway has also shared her talents across the international stage, representing England at both youth and senior levels. With the U-20’s squad, she captained the team to third place glory in the Women’s U-20 World Cup. That same year, she received the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year Award. 

Later in 2019, Stanway was the youngest player called up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Manager Phil Neville selected her to represent England in France. Overall, the 22-year-old has made 20 senior appearances for the Lionesses. She has scored 2 goals, including one in her debut against Austria. 

The number 10 reflected on her time in France; “Sometimes it’s hard for me to reflect because we’re constantly focusing on the next thing. But definitely this is a time that I’ve got to be proud of myself and I’ve got to be proud of what I’ve achieved so far. To go to a World Cup, to obviously now be going to an Olympics, to have achieved so many caps at Manchester City and to now only be 22 years old, it’s crazy. To be honest I can’t put it into words, because everything has kind of [flown] for me. I’m just grateful for the support that I’ve got behind me, my community, my support network, my family, my team mates. I’m just very grateful for the people that are around me.”

Wales and Scotland representation in Team GB

Stanway also expressed how delighted she is to learn from the other players selected for the Olympic squad. Caroline Weir and Kim Little of Scotland, and Sophie Ingle of Wales inspire Stanway.

“All three of them are unbelievable footballers, I know first-hand the work that Caz [Weir] puts in, obviously because I’m with her on a daily basis. I understand her technical and tactical ability so yeah, I’m excited to bring them in and be a part of the team with them. With Sophie and Kim, they are both captains as well so they are people that can lead both on and off the pitch and bring that as well as their experience. So I’m excited to learn from them and see what they can help with in my game myself.”

Olympic inspiration gained at a young age

“During the 2012 Olympics I was 13 years old, so that was the time when your dream is big and you’re looking forward to watching the Olympics and I remember doing that. I remember always watching Jessica Ennis, she was somebody that inspired me, she was somebody that was so unbelievable at every single sport she did and she was almost like a superhero. She’s definitely somebody that’s inspired me.”

Although there will be no spectators inside the stadiums, Stanway is looking forward to her family being able to watch her on television.

“Yeah, it’ll be difficult not having them over there, but at the end of the day it’s only six weeks, we’ve done a year and a half in Covid where I’ve not seen them so six weeks is absolutely nothing. I’m looking forward to them being able to watch it on TV. They (her parents) are both teachers, so I’m sure that they’ll be celebrating within the school and doing some sort of activities around that. So hopefully the kids will be able to get involved. Yeah, I’m just excited for them to be a part of the journey too and for them to be able to watch on TV.”

After an uncertain year, Stanway’s hard work and dedication have paid off. She will be on the plane along with 21 others to Tokyo representing Team Great Britain at the Olympics. This time, she will be the one inspiring the next generation. 

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