Steph Roche knows a thing or two about football at the top level and she believes Beth Mead has a bright future with club and country, writes Roy Kelly.
There was shock when the Sunderland Ladies striker was overlooked by England for last month’s Euro 2017 championship qualifier in Estonia.
But Mead has won a call up for England’s two-match trip to China, with Lady Black Cats’ Hebburn-born keeper Rachael Laws joining her on the plane to the Far East on Monday.
Roche, the first female finalist in the 2014 FIFA Puskás Award for the best goal of the year and a multi-cap Republic of Ireland striker, says Mead has earned her international place.
“She deserves it, she’s done really well,” said the Sunderland attacking midfielder.
“I’m delighted for her and Lawsy to have been called into the England squad for China
“It’s great to see – Beth’s a young player and I think there’s a lot more to come from her.
“I really believe we’ll be hearing a lot more about her over the next few years.
“It didn’t happen for her for the Estonia match and I think a lot of people were put out by that.
“But Beth’s only a young player, she’s got a long and great career in front of her.”
Roche added: “I’ve watched her closely and not only is a good footballer, she has a great attitude.
“Playing for England will only make her a better player and that will be beneficial for Sunderland as well.”
And Roche said that Laws has deserved her selection by England head coach Mark Sampson.
“Definitely,” said the 26-year-old. “Rachael has been very good in goal and has been one of our leaders as well.”