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Womens Football News Archive -14th May 2003

Young England star on comeback trail Exclusive
Interview with Emily Westwood

Emily Westwood

Emily Westwood in action against Sunderland this season, before her injury
The England under-19s are on their way to Sweden this week for a friendly to prepare for this summer's UEFA Championships in July, when they will play the Swedes, Italy and hosts Germany. However one player who would have been a member of that squad will be aiming to continue her long comeback from two serious injuries which have wrecked her season.
(Action photo by Andy Shaw - Emily in action against Sunderland this season, before her injury).
Emily Westwood was a member of the England under-19 teams which reached the semi finals of last year's UEFA Championships and the last eight of the FIFA Under-19 World Championships last August. The Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder scored one of the goals in the 6-2 defeat by hosts Canada in a quarter final played in front of a 26,000 crowd in Edmonton."Everything went well for us," Emily told Women's Soccer Scene. "Knowing you're playing against the best players in the world at your age group was brilliant and a great experience."
On returning home from Canada, Emily was chosen as a member of the International Player Development Centre at Loughborough University and was selected in the England under-19 squad for their UEFA qualifying group in Bulgaria. However fate was to deal a cruel blow to the rising young star. "My course at Loughborough started two weeks early so we also had a chance to build up our fitness during that time. Whilst playing five-a-side in the gym, I landed awkwardly on my leg whilst it was fully extended and it gave way. It was very painful. I suffered bone damage to my knee as well as medial ligament and cartilage damage. The physio told me it was partly down to overuse."
Emily's recovery went smoothly and she was able to resume light training in January but disaster was to strike again in the same knee. This time the problem was worse. As well as recurring damage to her previous injuries, she snapped her cruciate ligaments.
Emily underwent an operation in March for cruciate reconstruction and, seven weeks later, is once again in rehabilitation. "I'm just getting back into the swing of things now, doing lots of physio at Loughborough as well as my academic course. Fortunately they have the best physios there and I am being looked after well."
Despite all that she has been through since her injury in September, Emily is still remaining upbeat. "I am relieved this didn't happen before I went to Canada, I would have been gutted! I have been watching Wolves on Sundays and also the England under-19s when they played their qualifiers in Bedfordshire - I saw all three games and was pleased they got through, I thought they did well. I'm hoping to keep in touch with them during the Championships.
"I'm setting no targets for a return - just to make steady progress and get it right. My short term aim is to get through rehab and start jogging again, let's take it from there."
We all hope Emily will be back soon.

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