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Added 17th July 2013, 10:19 in

ENGLAND PLAYER BLOG: We're Diggin' Duggan

It’s been a mad 24 hours writes TONI DUGGAN. First I scored my first goal in my first appearance in a senior tournament. Then I tried to foil a burglary.

 

I’ll tell you about that in a bit but first there’s the game against Russia to talk about.

 

I was made up just to play, I’d been sitting on the bench kicking my heels so to get on and to score was a dream come true. As goals go it has to rank up there with the top three and my granddad, who watched it on telly at home, said he’d never celebrated an England goal so much.

He can’t be here, which is unfortunate because he’s always been there for me, but luckily my mum has conquered her fear of flying and come out to watch me. She’s here with my aunty Jackie and little cousin Layla and it’s been massive to have my family here. I think it shows, because when I scored the goal I blew them a kiss.

 

(Left: Toni's proud mum Joanne (r), with super supportive Layla - and Layla's bunny - and aunty Jackie.)

 

I’ve been on many other trips in younger age groups and people have had their families there and I haven’t quite had that opportunity so for mine to be here is massive and I’m just glad that I can repay the favour of my mum coming over to support me. I expect she’ll be wanting to go everywhere now.

I’ve been able to meet up with them a fair bit and Hope doesn’t mind if your family are around so long as you are sensible and aren’t on your feet too much or out in the sun. It’s actually been a good balance with the down time and I think Hope has got it right, it’s certainly a great thing to have, just to see different faces, have different conversations, it helps you relax away from football.

I’ve actually been having lots of conversations with new faces since the Russia game because the media have wanted to interview me. It’s mad because I’ve not been part of the starting 11 so I’m more used to seeing the other girls doing interviews, but I always knew I would play my part in the squad and I’m thankful that I have.

People have asked me if I thought it wasn’t going to be my day when my earlier effort hit the crossbar but not once did that cross my mind.

I’ll admit that I was gutted – I thought it was in and I was wheeling off to celebrate. It’s not often you get a second chance at international level, so I was thankful for that but I never gave up believing.

Andy Spence, my manager at Everton, wrote me a little card before we came away and wrote at the bottom “Just remember, it only takes a second to score a goal”. So as soon as I got in the changing room I sent him a message. I kept telling myself that during the game. Not once did I look at the scoreboard to see how long was left. I kept believing I could score, it's a good attitude to have and I'm thankful to him for reminding me of it.

 

When I did score I didn’t really know what it meant at the time, I went straight back to the centre circle because I wanted to go for another goal but unfortunately the whistle went and I was disappointed with that and the result.

When I woke up this morning I realised what the goal meant and I’m just thankful that we can still have a chance in this tournament. When I woke up I was also still quite tired because I’d not been able to get to sleep straight after the game and when I eventually did, I was woken up by a noise outside that turned out to be someone burgling the ice cream shop outside the hotel! We've got to know the owner very well, we've given him a ticket to the game anda  few flags, so I just phoned reception and they got the police. They were out there all night with dogs so hopefully they’ll catch whoever did it. Crazy!!!! It was Toni to the rescue.

I went on a bike ride with Eni this morning as a recovery session. I don’t know if I’ll get on when we play France, but I’ll respect Hope’s decision either way. I’m confident that whatever starting 11 goes out there on Thursday we’ll have the beating of France and we’ll leave nothing out on that pitch and if I’m required then I’ll be ready, so who knows.

I can’t put my finger on why we haven’t played at our best yet, but in both of the games we’ve come back from a goal down and that shows the character of the team and that’s a massive positive that we can take from the games moving forward. The first game maybe there were a few nerves and stuff, the second game I don’t really know what went wrong but credit to Spain and Russia, they stopped us from playing.

We’ve just got to get out there in training now and believe going into the game against France that we can win it and move on to bigger and better things. And if I get my chance, whether it’s 30 minutes or two minutes I can hopefully take it again...

 

FOLLOW Toni on Twitter: @T_Duggan


(Images: Catherine Etoe)

 

 

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