Messages of support for the England women's national football team have appeared on 23 billboards across England, as the country bids farewell and good luck to the Lionesses ahead of their FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign.
Each billboard celebrates an individual from the 23-player squad and features an image of the Lioness accompanied by a supportive message from an inspiration in their early career, such as a friend, family member, teacher or coach. The billboards have appeared across the country in locations that are special to each player and their journey, from where they grew up to the location of their current club.
The billboards of Brummie Karen Carney and Birmingham City’s Lucy Staniforth were unveiled close to New Street Station, whilst areas in the centre of Nottingham host the good luck messages of native Mary Earps and honorary local Ellen White.
Ellen White’s billboard can be seen in Nottingham Station, the message, written by husband Callum reads: “For all the early mornings, late nights, missed weddings, missed birthdays, missed anniversaries, changed plans, last minutes and lost evenings. Nothing compares to seeing you play for England.”
Karen Carney’s former coach, Rachel Pavlou, shared a heartfelt message ahead of Karen’s fourth World Cup appearance, which featured on her billboard: “Us Brummies are so very lucky to have you as our Lioness. Good luck to you and your teammates in France – make our city and country proud as you always do!”
Lucy Staniforth’s mum and Papps expressed how proud they were of Lucy on her billboard in Haden Circus: “Really, really proud of you. You have gone through so much, yet we always believed in you. Good luck!”
Mary Earps’ supportive message written by Mary’s mum, Joel, Annie, Mary’s grandma and Lily reads: “Good luck Mary, well deserved. We will all be rooting for you!”
Phil Neville, manager of the England women’s national team, said: “This is a great send-off for the team ahead of the World Cup and encapsulates the phenomenal support that they have received so far. The girls know that the country is fully behind them and can’t wait to get out there and give it everything.”
The FIFA Women’s World Cup runs from 7 June to 7 July with the Lionesses playing their first game on 9 June against Scotland in Nice, kick off 17:00 (BST). All fixtures will be broadcast live on the BBC.
For more information visit: www.thefa.com/lionesses