Hannah Hampton: Why the Aston Villa star should be England’s first choice at the Euros

NORWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 20: Hannah Hampton of England in action during the Arnold Clark Cup match between England and Spain at Carrow Road on February 20, 2022 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Hannah Hampton made her senior debut for England against Spain at Carrow Road on 20 February 2022 and made a huge impact for her country.

Against a tough Spanish side, the Aston Villa shot-stopper kept a clean sheet and was voted Player of the Match by her adoring fans.

Hampton has been training with the Lionesses for almost two years but until this week, had yet to make her senior debut. She has had to bide her time with the likes of Karen Bardsley, Ellie Roebuck, Mary Earps and Sandy MacIver all getting game time ahead of her.

However, with such a confident display against one of the top teams in the world, Hampton can be assured of future England appearances.

Striker becomes a goalkeeper

Hampton grew up in Spain from around the age of five. She was scouted by Villarreal and played in a mixed team for four years.

Later, she moved back to England and played as a striker for Stoke City. Hampton was scouted by England while playing for Stoke against Liverpool. This is when she made the transition from striker to goalkeeper, as the team were short of personnel between the sticks.

Hampton had such a great game in goal including making three saves in quick succession. Fate would have it she ended up keeping her place in goal.

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Opportunities come quick at Birmingham City

Hampton then made the move to Birmingham City and it wasn’t long before manager Marc Skinner gave her her first opportunity. Age 16, Hampton made her full senior debut against Doncaster Rovers Belles in the Continental Cup.

Birmingham’s first choice goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger was unwell and was later diagnosed with thyroid cancer, so Hampton was asked to play the match at St. Andrew’s.

Hampton was a substitute for Blues throughout most of 2018. However in January 2019, Hampton became the number one goalkeeper when the club sold Berger to Chelsea. She went on to make over 50 appearances for Birmingham, making several outstanding saves and keeping crucial clean sheets along the way.

Hampton follows Ward to Villa

In July 2021, Carla Ward signed Hampton on a two-year deal at Aston Villa. 

Ward said of the signing: “Hannah is up there with the best goalkeepers in the WSL. She is a really gifted individual who can play with both feet and is comfortable under pressure.

“Her ambition is to become England’s No.1 and hopefully we can continue to develop her and help her achieve that.”

Overall, Hampton has been exceptional for Villa this season. Knowing Hampton, she’ll be amongst the first to admit she’s made a small number of mistakes, but she is learning fast and improving all the time. She’s made a total of 44 saves this season with Kirstie Levell being the only other English keeper having made more saves per match.

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An England debut to be proud of

Spain are one of the favourites to win this year’s Euros. The Lionesses may not have penetrated the Spanish net, but they will take huge comfort from maintaining a clean sheet.

The team stuck to the game plan and apart from a close-call mix up with Chelsea’s Jess Carter in defence, Hampton’s debut was very impressive.

The Lionesses fans enjoyed it too. Every time Hampton made a save there was an audible loud cheer from the 14,000 strong crowd. Hampton will certainly, if not already, become a firm favourite with the England fans.

Why Hannah Hampton should start for England

It can be argued the three main keepers in contention for a starting place at the Euros are Earps, Roebuck and Hampton. But the Villa star should be up there to make the starting lineup in the tournament.

Hampton may be young but she is still highly experienced at the top level and she showed in the match against Spain she isn’t fazed by a large crowd on the big occasion.

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Roebuck is an oustanding keeper but having sustained a long-term injury it can take several months to get back to your best. Hampton is in form and the Euros are only four months away.

Hampton’s distribution is second-to-none and she is quick to make match-defining saves. She has an eye for a pin-point long distance pass and can pick out her teammates poised to make a break.

There is another international break coming up in April so we wait with interest to see if Hampton will be deployed more.

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