REBEKAH BASS has backed her Sunderland Ladies team-mate Beth Mead for international success while also looking to forge her own path towards senior England recognition.
Both were involved in the England Under-23s set-up over the winter and are now team-mates after Bass moved from Leeds United at the end of last season.
Sunderland claimed a third successive FA Premier League National Division title last term with Mead notching a remarkable 30 goals and finishing the league’s top scorer.
And Bass is confident that the striker’s form will continue.
“Beth will be a big part of this season and all eyes will be on her,” said 19-year-old Bass.
“She’s coming up with England and she’s one of the players that everyone is expecting things from, which is good because it will put pressure on her and encourage her to perform.”
Bass has been playing since she was eight, joining the first team at Leeds the week after she turned 16.
But the winger is used to life at the top having had her first taste of international football when she was 18 – captaining England Colleges on their tour of Estonia.
She also took part in an England Under-23s training camp in January, which Bass felt was both intimidating and exciting.
“I’d gone from being the oldest in Estonia to being one of the younger ones and now I was the one asking the questions and needing the advice,” added Bass.
“I was looking up to the older girls. They’ve been in the set-up a lot longer than I have so that was more of a learning curve as well as working on my football skills.
“I was the oldest in the team in Estonia but a lot of the girls were just 16 or 17.
“I wasn’t a mother but if the girls needed anything then they came to me – someone older and a bit wiser, so they say!
“My highlight of being out there was being captain. We played five games where we won three, drew one and lost one so to only lose one game while I was captain was really pleasing.
“I learnt a lot. You remember that everyone is playing for the same reason and they’re playing for each other. You have to support each other.”
Although she has high hopes for her own international career, Bass – who has just been called up for a forthcoming England U20 training camp, alongside Keira Ramshaw – is also determined to help Sunderland succeed this season.
“We’ve all got the mindset that we can do well, we just need to put in the performances,” she said.
H The FA Women’s Super League has been newly expanded to two leagues for 2014. To watch all 18 clubs live in action buy tickets here: http://www.ticketstores.co.uk/fawsl