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Karen Carney has had a magnificent season and the 17-year-old winger is on the verge of being a part of England's challenge in Euro 2005. She was given a great boost by being voted as Young Player of the Year and Karen was in a bubbly mood after the awards. "To be seen by other clubs as the Young Player of the Year is pretty cool," she says. "At the start of the season I was happy to be on the bench at Birmingham when they brought in Alex Scott and Rachel Yankey and then, all of a sudden, to be starting for England is mad! But I have got a lot to achieve, I want to do a lot of things with Birmingham and with England."
The season provided one undoubted highlight for Karen - scoring on her full England debut. "Scoring on your debut and beating a team like Italy, I don't think it can get better than that to be honest," she smiles. She then went on to score on her second appearance against Northern Ireland: "They made it hard for us but we competently won in the end. It was a good experience to go to the Algarve and play against a lot of the teams there.
"It was good to start for England but I'm not getting carried away. There's a lot of hard work to be done and I will learn shedloads from it tactically wise and strength wise. You've got to be a lot fitter - I was laughing and joking after the Norway game that you might as well not call it football but call it running! You only get about 30 seconds on the ball but it's all about doing the right thing at that time."
So what does Karen think would make a successful Euro 2005 for England? "A good tournament would be winning it," she replies. "Being in thus country, you've got to try and win it. I've been looking around the team in the past months and we have got some of the best players around. Rachel Yankey - I've yet to see a right back stop her - Fara Williams, Katie Chapman, Faye White and then there is Kelly Smith as well, where do you stop? We can actually do something here if everyone works together and does well. We beat Norway, the third ranked team in the world, and it wasn't even a good performance - everyone said afterwards we can do better so on a good day, we've got to be confident enough to go on and beat anybody, and I know we can."
In the meantime, Karen is waiting to hear if she has made the squad for the Finals. "Fingers crossed, we'll wait and see," she says. "If I haven't made the 20, then I have made a great achievement in gerting Young Player of the Year and done really well in making my debut and winning caps this year. But if I do, you can't top playing in Euro 2005 in your own country, so either way I'll be happy.
"I will have to wait and see what Hope decides but she will have the best players in her mind and she knows what she wants. If I don't ger picked, then good luck to the rest of the players, but if I am in then I'll give everything."
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