Age: 27 Position: forward Groups: Arsenal and England
After a disappointing 2020-21 campaign for both club and country, which saw her left out of Team GB’s squad for the Tokyo Olympics, Beth Mead bounced back with a bang last season.
Voted Arsenal’s Player of the Season, Mead scored 11 goals and provided eight assists in a campaign that saw the Gunners come close to winning the title, losing by just one point to Chelsea.
That was before the winger rose to prominence during Euro 2022, claiming the Golden Boot and player of the tournament as the Lions won their first major tournament.
… winning the European Golden Boot:
“It’s not something I even remotely thought about at the start of the tournament, not even for a second.
“For me, I’m very happy to win with the team, do what I can for the team and if that helps, that’s great, but to come with the best scorer and player in the tournament was a dream come true. .
“I get up one morning to do my job like anybody else. Yes we break records and get accolades for doing these things, but at the end of the day I just keep saying ‘I’m just Beth and I play football’. . It’s as simple as that to me. ».
…back from Olympic disappointment:
“Obviously I struggled at the time, but I came back motivated and hungrier than ever and I wanted to show people what I was doing on the football field and prove that a down period doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing football.
“I believe things happen for a reason and maybe it was meant to be. I had to have that low to get to the high I’ve had with club and country this season.
“Luckily I haven’t had too many slumps in my career. That was my first real knock, I’m really proud of myself for the way I bounced back and what I did last season.
“Life throws a lot of things at you, you have a lot of ups and downs and when it comes down to it, I’ve had to embrace both and I’ve enjoyed the highs a lot, so yeah, it’s a part of life. And sometimes you learn from it.”
… depending on the success of the euro:
“We want to create a lasting legacy, not just a couple of months of buzz around the women’s game because of what we’ve done.
“Now is just the beginning, we have to keep going and push the women’s game to the next level, it’s the bare minimum it deserves.
“We hope to do that as a collective through clubs and countries and continue to project at the level it deserves.”
… how his life has changed:
“Walking down the street has been a bit different, being a lot more recognised. I went on holiday and people recognized who I was which I thought was a bit crazy because I wasn’t in England.
“But for me, it means the game is going in the right direction, you know who I am, you know who my teammates are and I hope the women’s game is projected even more now.”
… his highlight of the last year:
“Winning the European Championship with England, the only moment left for me is sharing that game with my mum, dad and brother on the sidelines. They’ve put so much into their lives for me and it was a nice moment for us to share that.
“It’s been a difficult year for our family off the field [her mum was diagnosed with cancer]. We really cherished and soaked up that moment together and my mom has been incredible. He’s really been my rock and motivation and he’s the one going through the tough stuff, not me.”
What others say
Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall: “Sometimes as a coach you come into a team and you’ve seen the players play on video and you have an idea about them – Beth is one of them, I saw her, I saw positive things in her but I was completely surprised by her qualities when I came here.
“I don’t think he’s peaked yet. I hope this year is just another stepping stone to bigger things.”
do you know
- Mead is the only English player to win the Golden Boot and the player of the tournament at a senior European or World Cup.
- He has been open about his sexuality to help others in the LGBTQ+ community
- Mead holds the record for most assists in the WSL
- He has scored the most goals for England in a season this year (14), surpassing Jimmy Greaves’ record (13).
- An octopus was named after his success at Euro 2022
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