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Karen Carney interview: Man United and Man City players can make Euro 2022 impact at Old Trafford

Manchester Evening News logo Manchester Evening News 04/07/2022 Joe Bray

England legend Karen Carney says Lauren Hemp and Ella Toone can have breakthrough summers as the Lionesses prepare to kick off their UEFA Women's Euro 2022 campaign at Old Trafford this week.

Hosting the tournament, England are one of the favourites for the Euros this summer, and have a strong core of Manchester United and Manchester City players in Sarina Wiegman's squad. Of those, Lionesses great Carney believes Hemp and Toone have the ability to be gamechangers for England, either from the start of off the bench.

Speaking to MEN Sport, Carney said of Hemp: "I talk about her too much. She's probably ready to text me and say 'Kaz, stop talking about me!' Because I'm saying don't put any pressure on, keep it down, and then I'm always saying, she's amazing. But there's no hidden secret. I've got massive soft spot for her.

ALSO READ: Man City and Manchester United represented in England's Women's Euro 2022 squad

"When she first joined the squad I've gravitated to her and she's such an amazing human. And now just seeing her do her thing and the scary thing is there's so much more room for her to grow and develop is a massive player. She's got an exciting few years ahead of her, I don't think she's too young. I think she's at a good stage. Now this is where her experience starts to grow and develop.

"But she's improved a lot over the last four or five months I would say a lot in terms of clinical and product. I'm a little bit sad she's come on the radar before the tournament whereas I've wanted a little bit for no one really to know her and then the opposition don't know as much about her. But I think with data and everything everyone will know about her but I'm just excited. She's definitely a crowd-pleaser."

And of Toone, who enjoyed a brilliant season for United and has made a fine start to life with England this year, Carney says England have a player who can make an instant impact from the bench.

She said: "I would think she would be from the bench but for me, that's an exciting part. She's the type of player that I think can come on and shift the game or move the game and equally as a 10, that's quite exciting when you come on and you've got a 20 minute, 30 minute period to change the game.

"She might start, I don't know, Sarina is chopping and changing her teams around but I'd probably think she would come off from the bench if needed. But you've got Georgia Stanway, Fran Kirby, Ella Toone it's highly competitive for that position. She's had a really good season again. I still think she's in the early stages of her career and her experience and development and their strength and the speed that will start to come."

Carney was speaking on behalf of Booking.com, who are the official accommodation booking partner of the tournament, and their research showed more than eight in 10 England fans (85 per cent) say the growth of the women’s game has made traveling to play professional football in top leagues around the world a realistic career ambition for women and girls.

The changing perception of the women’s game also appears in other areas in Booking.com’s research, with more than three quarters of England football fans (78 per cent) saying many of today’s professional female footballers are as skilful as their top male counterparts.

In response to those stats, Carney said the Euros are a chance to increase those percentages further by bringing the women's game to a wider audience.

"What I think is great, is a tournament like this, it's coming up is going to put it in people's mind so we could get those figures up even higher and hopefully we do," she said.

"That's a credit to some major sponsors coming on board and then putting it in people's vision. And people's eyes or hearing about it or knowing it's out there. I would say for women's football as well, it doesn't just necessarily mean about playing. There's so many opportunities and I guess that's our job now to not just say 'hey, look, you can play but you can be in it on so many multiple roles.' And that's what's really exciting.

"For me, the skin of the game has always been really good. I think the thing that's needed to be done is for it to be in front of people's visions and mindsets and conversations and that's a credit to again, the sponsors, the broadcasters, the media outputs and outlets that are getting out there now to help improve that stat and get it up there.

"For me, it's always been there, but the only difference is it hasn't been readily spoken about or seen on a consistent basis. And there's definitely a shift in women's sport and definitely a shift in momentum that we've got for women's football. This is a massive opportunity with the tournament to keep pushing that and challenging that and enabling people to see how good the game is. And obviously I've been in it a long time, I'm already a fan but we want to keep the existing fans and making them happy but also get getting new fans in and enjoying it as well.

"A sell-out at Old Trafford and a home tournament is what I dreamed about, to have sell-out stadiums and to have so many sponsors and broadcasters and just conversations. It's what we've always wanted, and we're gonna see that next week we've broken record sales and you know, record attendances and we're gonna continue to do that. So it's so exciting."

Booking.com is the Official Accommodation Booking Partner of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022™

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