Messages of support have appeared on 23 billboards across England, as the country bids farewell and good luck to the Lionesses ahead of their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.
Each billboard celebrates an individual from the 23-player squad and features an image of the Lioness accompanied by a supportive message from an inspiration in their early career, such as a friend, family member, teacher or coach. The billboards have appeared across the country in locations that are special to each player and their journey, from where they grew up to the location of their current club.
England’s captain Steph Houghton’s billboard can be seen on Albion Way in Salford, not far from her club, Manchester City. Steph Houghton’s cousin Amy shared a touching message of support for the captain, which featured on her billboard: “From our local park- the Welfare- to the World Cup, you’ve done us proud. You are the most inspiring and resilient person and we love you so much. Good luck!”
Toni Duggan’s billboard takes centre stage just outside Liverpool Lime Street station, in her beloved home town. Toni Duggan’s message, written by her mum, reads: “Proud is an understatement! From a little girl in Everton to a name known worldwide, you are an inspiration! Everyone in Liverpool is willing you and the Lionesses to do well.”
Millie Bright’s poetic message is lovingly written by her grandad Arthur and can be seen on her billboard in Fulham Broadway, a stone’s throw from Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge: “The training is over, the practice is done, now to get the series won. Believe in your team mates and be on the up, then come home with the World Cup.”
Sunderland local Jill Scott is one of England’s most capped players. Jill’s billboard can be found close to the Stadium of Light in her beloved home town. Jill’s message is written by former coach, Paul Smith, “You were a dream to coach, always listened and willing to learn. Good luck, everyone at Boldon C.A. Girls Football Club will be watching.”
Phil Neville, manager of the Lionesses said: “This is a great send-off for the team ahead of the World Cup and encapsulates the phenomenal support that they have received so far. The girls know that the country is fully behind them and can’t wait to get out there and give it everything.”
The FIFA Women’s World Cup runs from 7 June to 7 July with the Lionesses playing their first game on 9 June against Scotland in Nice, kick off 17:00 (BST). All fixtures will be broadcast live on the BBC.