Birmingham City’s Jo Potter tipped to shine for England at women’s World Cup

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It’s been quite a turnaround in international fortunes for England’s Jo Potter but it’s that determination to get back to the very top which will stand the Birmingham City midfielder out at this year’s Women’s World Cup, according to retired goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis.

Up until last August, it had seemed like Mansfield-born Potter’s England days were over, having won the last of her 12 caps in 2007.

However she was invited back into the set-up ahead of their 4-0 win over Sweden last August before making a goal-scoring return a month later in their 10-0 thrashing of Montenegro in their final World Cup qualifying campaign outing.

The 30-year-old, who won the FA Women’s Cup in 2012, suitably impressed head coach Mark Sampson enough though as he then named Potter in his 23-strong squad for the World Cup in Canada which kicked off last weekend.

England played their opening game against France on Tuesdsay night and Brown-Finnis – herself a veteran of two World Cups with England – believes her versatility will be invaluable to the team as they bid for success at the tournament.

“It shows great strength of character from Jo Potter, because there must be times in that wilderness when she has been left out of the squad when she thought her time had passed and she’d never get back in,” she said.

“So for her to earn that opportunity to get back in the squad, she’s established herself in that team and Mark Sampson has seen her as a player he can rely on in different roles.

“She has very much earned her way back into this World Cup squad when a few years ago she probably didn’t think she’d have a chance.

“She should be really proud of how she has dug herself out of the history books as almost a retired player to coming and starting at the 2015 World Cup.”

England have never made it beyond the quarter-finals of the World Cup, having been knocked out at the last-eight stage in 2011, 2007 and 1995.

And Brown-Finnis wants to see England rid themselves of the quarter-final curse and make steady progress to the final four.

“It’s going to be a tough call we have got tough matches,” added Finnis-Brown, who was speaking to launch a new partnership between the Football Association and SSE, which will see a seven-figure sum committed to the women’s game, ring-fencing funding to create a UK-wide programme of girls-only football activity and the competition renamed the SSE Women’s FA Cup Final.

“I would love England to make it beyond the quarter-finals – that was our stumbling block in 2007 and 2011, the World Cups I played in.

“But it’s a World Cup, we’ve seen loads of upsets in men’s and women’s football, and I’d love England to get beyond the quarter-finals, and that’s what they will aim for.

“You always need a little bit of luck going into those quarter-finals, we’ve been knocked out on penalties in the past – so I’m sure they’ll have been practising their penalties ahead of this tournament.”

Energy providers SSE are the new title sponsors of the SSE Women’s FA Cup, investing in the provision and profile of girls and Women’s football as part of ground-breaking four-year deal.