Belfast Telegraph

Emslie determined to enjoy ride after Euro snub

 

France bound: Claire Emslie gets World Cup opportunity
France bound: Claire Emslie gets World Cup opportunity

By Andy Newport

Scotland winger Claire Emslie is determined to savour her World Cup experience after the pain of her Euro 2017 snub.

The 25-year-old Manchester City ace was overlooked by former boss Anna Signeul two years ago as Scotland's women reached their first ever major championships.

But she has responded to that blow by redoubling her efforts and earned her place among Shelley Kerr's squad of 23 that will depart today for this summer's finals in France.

Before jetting out, Kerr's squad received a visit from Britain's most decorated Olympian, Katherine Grainger.

The five-time medallist urged the Scots to soak up every minute as they become the first Scottish national side to reach a showpiece tournament since 1998.

But Emslie needs no reminder of the opportunity that lies ahead after missing out last time.

"It was hard - I was so gutted I didn't get to go," said Emslie, who is to join US-side Orlando Pride after the tournament. "It was a strong squad and I hadn't really been involved under Anna.

"It was brutal to sit at home but it made me so determined to work hard and make sure I was up for selection for the next tournament.

"Fortunately since Shelley has taken over she has included me. She gave me my first start and I scored my first goal.

"It's great to be part of a team that's going to a World Cup and I'm just fortunate that I'm getting to go as I know how hard it is to sit at home on my sofa.

"I'm just planning to enjoy every moment, take everything in.

"We even had a visit from Katherine Grainger last night which was amazing. She's a five-time Olympian and has a lot of experience.

"The one thing she said was to savour it, to enjoy it because it doesn't come around often.

"We know that as Scottish people, so we'll definitely enjoy it."

With 22 caps now to her name, Emslie is a firm fixture in the national team and her profile will only grow if she is chosen to start against England on Sunday in their Group D opener.

But even so, the sight of a massive mural bearing her likeness that has been painted on the side of a Leith biscuit factory is taking some getting used to.

She said: "It's so cool. My auntie sent me a photo of it. She tracked it down and posed beside it. She looks so small because it's so massive.

"It just shows the great support that's going round for the national team at the moment. We really appreciate it."

But Emslie is playing down the significance of the huge opener against Phil Neville's Lionesses.

"Although it's England first up, we've got three massive games so we're treating them all the same.

"We're not thinking too much about the occasion and more about what we need to do to win."

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