Carlton Fairweather believes Beth Mead is not far away from winning an England cap.
Sunderland’s head coach told the Echo that he hopes the Women’s Super League’s top scorer will get an opportunity in an international friendly in the autumn.
England boss Mark Sampson snubbed the 20-year-old in his first post-World Cup squad for the opening 2017 Euro qualifier in Estonia on Monday night, despite bringing in several new blood into the set-up.
It shocked many pundits, given Mead’s stunning debut season in WSL1.
But the Lady Black Cats star did get Tallinn, where England won 8-0, with Danielle Carter, one of Sampson’s new girls, scoring a hat-trick.
Fairweather explained: “Beth was not an official call-up but was invited over to be with the squad.
“She trained with the squad, where she got to see the way they go about things and they could see her.
“Her being with the squad will be a massive help, without a shadow of a doubt.
“It will have given her a insight into the senior team and they will have been able to see what she’s like on and off the pitch .
“Beth is still only 20 – she has lots of time to develop and improve. She is one for the future, I’m sure.
“I think a friendly would be the ideal time for England to look at her, may be they thought a championship qualifier was not the time to play her.
“I’d say an up-coming friendly would be the more likely time to be called up. I’d be disappointed if she wasn’t.”
Mead has the perfect stage to show her credentials at Eppleton CW tomorrow.
Sunderland Ladies play their final home WSL match of the season against star-studded Arsenal at the Hetton ground (kick-off 6.30pm).
Mead has already shot down WSL title hopefuls Chelsea, scoring a hat-trick against the Blues, and, refreshed after a three-week league break, will hopefully be raring to go against the Gunners.
Fairweather is looking to see his players to end the season on a high.
Sunderland have slipped from second place to fourth after picking up two points from a possible nine.
But victory against the Gunners will lift Steph Bannon & Co above Arsenal into third place.
“The girls are up for it after three weeks without a game,” said Fairweather. “We’re at home. Our fans are one of the best crowds in the country – they have given us brilliant support all season and I think, with their backing, again we have a great chance.”