BETHANY England has a clear answer when asked what she wants to achieve in the rest of her glittering career – become the WSL all-time top-scorer.
The Kingstone woman, who turns 30 this year, has 69 goals in the top flight for Doncaster Belles, Liverpool, Chelsea and current club Tottenham Hotspur.
The England striker is the second highest scorer in the league’s history behind Arsenal’s Dutch superstar Vivianne Miedema.
Bethany has won four league titles, two FA Cups and two League Cups with Chelsea, a European Championship with England and played in the finals of the Champions League and World Cup. There is little left to win but she is hopeful of more shots at glory with the Lionesses as well as personal milestones in club football.
England told the Chronicle: “I want to be the all-time top-scorer in the WSL.
“I am not far behind Vivianne and I am already the highest English scorer in the league.
“As a striker your job is to score goals and I feel like I have a good few years left.
“That is definitely the biggest target I have left.
“Internationally, there is a Euros in 2025 and a World Cup in 2027.
“Another two tournaments is possible if I keep fit and playing well.
“First of all I just want to get back playing regularly and scoring, helping Tottenham finish as high as we can this season.”
Bethany picked up an injury in a training session with Tottenham before last summer’s World Cup but was cleared to play and took painkillers throughout the tournament in Australia which ended in a loss to Spain in the final.
When she returned to England for a scan she discovered she had two tears in her hip area and needed an operation so missed four months.
She returned last month, just before the winter break.
“I didn’t think it was too serious but it turned out to be much worse than I imagined.
“I couldn’t feel a thing with the pain management I was on and I was moving really well so it was a shock.
“It’s always frustrating to be injured but it couldn’t be avoided.
“It’s good to be back. It’s been a long time since I played properly.
“The two-week break kind of killed me personally because I just need minutes and would rather keep going. But the rest of the team needed a break.”
Bethany came off the bench in the World Cup final, as she did through most of the tournament – having not played a single minute in the European Championship win the previous year.
“I was gutted with the result.
“You go all that way wanting a fairytale. Unfortunately we weren’t good enough on the day. The best team won.
“But it was the experience of a lifetime, representing my country in the World Cup final.
“I featured a lot more than in the Euros which meant a lot to me.
“To be brought on in the final is something I will never forget.
“I will hold fond memories of the whole tournament.
“One day I was a young girl playing football in Barnsley, the next I am playing in a World Cup final in Australia. That’s how it felt.”
Bethany’s big moment saw her net England’s first penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out win over Nigeria.
“When the coaches told me I was second on the list, I almost didn’t believe I was in the top five.
“I just thought: ‘it’s now or never – this is your moment.’ I practiced penalties a lot since moving to Tottenham and I was confident. When Georgia (Stanway) missed our first one I thought: ‘oh God what have I agreed to?’
“But they missed too which made it even. I just focused on hitting the target and thankfully it went in.”