Manchester City and Lionesses star Lauren Hemp has reflected on her incredible year in football as she received her recent PFA Vertu Motors Fans’ Player of the Month Award.
Hemp featured in all six matches of England Women’s European Championship triumph last summer and did not slow down on her return to club football, earning the Fans’ award for her scintillating performances so far this WSL season.
Over a game of Shuffleboard in the heart of Manchester, the 22-year-old revealed how she has processed the Lionesses’ Euro success, including the significance of the win for the future of women’s football, her influence as a role model, and her childhood love of sports.
“It’s been a pretty crazy year,” said Hemp. “I feel like we haven’t had a chance to properly switch off and reminisce over how much of a fantastic year it’s been.”
“I don’t think I’ll realise for another few years how special it has been because when you’re in the moment, you don’t realise how big [of an achievement] it is. With the Euros win in the summer then going straight back to club football, you don’t get time to think about how much has happened and how big it will be for the future of women’s football.”
During the tournament in July, stadiums were packed with England shirts bearing Hemp’s name, indicating her influence on the next generation of both men and women footballers.
Reflecting on her position as a role model, Hemp said: “When I was younger, I never thought that I would be a role model. I’ve looked up to so many people like Jill Scott and Steph Houghton, who I always wanted to be like when I was older so to be recognised like that myself, it’s crazy.
“I’m still young so I feel like I’m still looking up to people now.”
While on her involvement in other sports growing up, Hemp revealed how she could have gone down a totally different path in her mid-teens.
“I used to play cricket, but I had to stop when I was 16,” said Hemp. “I had to choose between football and cricket but in the end, I went for football which I think was the best decision.
Darts was also an option for Hemp, but she modestly declared: “I wouldn’t say really good, but my mum and dad used to play when they were younger. We’ve got a darts board at home, and I’ve got a darts board at my house as well, so I play a bit now and again.”
Watch the video in full HERE.
With thanks to the PFA via Maxwell Sports Communications