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Tottenham’s season-saving superstar: the influence of Bethany England.

A tough season for Tottenham Hotspur sees the club finish 9th in the Barclays Women Super League for the 2022/23 season. Throughout a season of lows, Spurs fans saw one standout positive, the addition of a goalscoring star. Just how important has Bethany England been for the Lilywhites since her arrival in January?

England joined the North London side signing a 3-year deal for a record fee for women’s football in England, reportedly £250,000, the highest within-WSL transfer fee. The forward spent 7 years at rival London side Chelsea winning 9 trophies during her time at the club, in addition to scoring 74 goals in 164 appearances.

England made the decision to make the move due to her limited game time with the Blues. In an incredibly strong side with the likes of Sam Kerr, Lauren James, Fran Kirby and Pernille Harder, the striker struggled to maintain starts and found herself in a limited rotation position. Additionally, young talent emerging into the Lionesses’ setup had meant that England had lost her place in the squad, following being a part of the 23 which saw European victory.

The forward swapped the title-race for a relegation battle, and the transfer couldn’t have come at a greater time for Tottenham as prior to England’s arrival the Lilywhites were 4 games without a win, with this period also seeing them in a goal drought. Throughout the first half of the season Spurs had only scored 11 goals in 9 games, 8 of which were scored in their victory over Brighton.

Tottenham finishing 5th in the 2021/22 season created expectations for them coming into this season, but it would turn out to be a completely different story with the possibility of relegation on the line. In comparison to Chelsea, Spurs are a team relatively new to the top-flight and are a team without starry players, so England has had an impressive impact on the team.

Scoring just 28 minutes into her debut, the 28-year-old painted the picture for her Spurs career so far, where she has scored 12 important goals in 12 games. Scoring to secure a 1-0 victory over Leicester City, helped bring Tottenham their first league win since October, and ended their 9-game losing streak. More importantly just 2 points separated the two sides, who were sat at the bottom of the table before the fixture, so England’s difference secured a valuable 3 points, which saw Spurs go 5 points clear. Additionally, a brace to secure an all-important point against Brighton and Hove Albion, when just 5 points separated the bottom 4, and a brace in Spurs’ 4-1 victory over Reading which saw them secure safety from relegation are moments where England has made the difference for Spurs and has proven to be a priceless signing, creating moments of magic for the club.

Despite the arrival of England answering Tottenham’s goalscoring problems, the question is what does the club do now, looking into next season? Issues in retaining leads and conceding late goals also played a significant part in pushing the team into the relegation zone and calls for strengthening the squad defensively. In addition to the need to find a permanent manager after the departure of Rehanne Skinner earlier this year.

England’s exceptional goal scoring form at the North London side has earned her selection for the 2023 Women’s World Cup squad, despite the forward not being involved in the Lionesses set up since September. Although she was performing well, Sarina Wiegman’s selections had not included England over several international breaks. However, the value of England’s move is clear as Wiegman mentioned that “She is selected because of her performances. She was at Chelsea and didn't build that much credit because we hardly saw her play. But then she made a move, and how she did, performed and the resilience she showed made us make the decision to get her in the squad”.

With her appreciable goal scoring form, England has also picked up 11 goals for the national team in her time with them in the past; the question now is will she be a threat in front of goal this summer? The tournament kicks off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20th.

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