Exclusive: Gemma Bonner Hopes for New Year Lionesses Return

Gemma Bonner training with Manchester City.
Gemma Bonner training with Manchester City. (Photo by Martin Rickett)

The Lionesses have pulled on their England jerseys for the last slice of 2020 action. Phil Neville’s squad enjoyed a November training camp which saw the likes of Lauren James and Katie Zelem receive senior call ups.

Usual faces including Jill Scott and Georgia Stanway also took part, but one player who missed out was their club teammate Gemma Bonner.

The defender has been left off the squad list for the last several England camps. Despite the fact she has won back-to-back FA Cups with Manchester City and captained Liverpool to two WSL titles, she has found opportunities limited as of late.

Her Football Hub spoke to Bonner about her hopes of securing a spot in the Lionesses camp in the new year.

Gemma Bonner makes 100 appearances for Liverpool. (Photo by Martin Rickett)

“It’s something that I’d love to achieve,” the centre-back said. “I feel like I’ve been in good form and obviously I’ve got a partnership in terms of playing alongside Steph [Houghton] at club level.”

Indeed, Bonner has been an ever-present figure for Man City and has struck up a strong bond with club and England captain Steph Houghton.

READ: Full List of UEFA 2020 Team of the Year Nominees

There are a lot of similarities between the 29-year-old and fellow Lioness Leah Williamson. Both are strong in defence but also are comfortable in contributing to the attack. However, only one of these players has been called up in recent times.

“I’ve got to keep my level high,” Bonner said. “I’m constantly striving every day to be better and achieve what I want to achieve.”

Whilst it will be frustrating to miss out on representing her country, the City star admits it’s an important time for England as a team.

Gemma Bonner in action for England. (Photo by Paul Chesterton)

“There’s so many players he [Neville] can pick from now and it’s exciting. Every player has got something to offer.

“In every single area – from the goalkeepers to the strikers – there’s competition. It’s something that England hasn’t necessarily had before.

“In terms of me, I see it [the talent] on a regular basis. I think with the likes of Chloe Kelly and Lauren Hemp, you forget how young they are because of how much experience they’ve got at club level. I think they can be huge players on the international front going forwards.”

The two youngsters Bonner has waxed lyrical about have made a huge impact in their rise into the spotlight. Hemp has broken her way into the Man City senior team whilst Kelly arrived as a summer transfer following her impressive 2019/20 season with Everton.

Both are becoming England regulars thanks to their efforts in the WSL and Bonner will undoubtedly be hoping to link up with the rising stars on the international stage. 

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be firmly in her sight as the board start to make their selections for the Team GB squad ahead of next summer.

MORE from Her Football Hub: