In the last interview by Sky sports news’ Former England captain Mary Phillip, who leads the Lionesses series, explains her career path, what it means to wear the armband and shares her advice with current skipper Leah Williamson.
Phillip was awarded the captain’s armband in 2003 and made history by becoming the first black woman to captain England. She earned 65 caps before retiring in 2008.
The former Arsenal and Fulham defender began her football career with Millwall Lionesses aged 12 before embarking on a career that saw her win five Women’s Premier Leagues and seven FA Cups.
Phillip, who was the only player to represent England in two World Cup squads until 2011, was called up for the first time in 1995 at the age of 18 after just two training sessions with the team.
Phillip, who is now manager of the Kent County League men’s team at Peckham Town, speaks to Sky Sports News as part of the Leading the lionesses Series ahead of this summer’s Euros.
“Born and Raised in Peckham”
“I grew up in Peckham and did everything in Peckham. I was born and raised in Peckham.
“From there to my elementary school where we were given the opportunity to play girls-only football when the boys wouldn’t let us play. It was fantastic and it just grew and grew from there.”
Phillip on “surprise” at first England outing
“I received a letter from the FA saying I had been included in the England squad for the upcoming World Cup. And it was a surprise because I had only attended a couple of training sessions and now I’m going to a World Cup.
“Just going out with the players that were there was incredible and to see the demands that it takes, the standards that it takes to push and develop in that squad, it’s been a great experience.”
‘Honour’ to be England’s first black captain
“It was only a few years ago that I found out that I had become the first black woman captain, years after I actually received the captaincy, and it’s a great honor to hold that.
“It’s something that always goes down in history. And long after I’m gone, my great-great-grandchildren will be able to see that when they look back at women’s football and say, ‘Hey Mary Phillip, this is my grandma and she became England’s first black captain’.
“So you can get out [as captain]who deliver messages and be able to lead and uplift the team and move us forward. You know, it’s a great experience to have.”
Phillip on her leadership style
“Do what you can, don’t try to do the impossible. If there is an opportunity to play it the first time, play it the first time, don’t make it difficult for yourself.
“And I like to think that’s pretty much how I represented things when I played the game. Take things easy and don’t try to do the impossible.”
Has the England captain’s role changed?
“Your captaincy is personal to you and who you are as a person. So it’s something that puts you out there and what you want for your team.
“I don’t think the role itself has changed because a captain’s role is a captain’s role. It’s just the person who’s captain at the time how they pull it out and how they rally the team around them to make sure that the team gives the best performance they possibly can.
“The modern England side would be a nice captain. But I don’t see how it would be any different when I was the team captain because I’m sure the girls all have the same drive and spirit out there, play, platform and get a result.
“And as long as you all want that and aim for the same thing, I think the results and the atmosphere would all be the same.”
Phillip’s advice to Leah Williamson
“Just be the player you are, that’s all you can do!”
Follow Euro 2022 on Sky Sports
Stay up to date on Euro 2022 this summer via Sky Sports and Sky Sports News.
The coverage will be moderated by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will provide analysis throughout the tournament.
They are also joined by veteran England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The experts and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 mobile presentation bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team across the country to the various stadiums where matches will be played.
In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast for the tournament from 21 June. It will be moderated by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui and will feature exclusive news and player interviews, as well as a strong program around the tournament.
Euro 2022: The Groups…
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
Euro 2022: the schedule…
Wednesday July 6th
Group A: England v Austria – kick-off 8pm, Old Trafford
Thursday July 7th
Group A: Norway v Northern Ireland – kick-off 8pm, St Mary’s
Friday, July 8th
Group B: Spain vs Finland – kick-off 5pm, Stadion MK
Group B: Germany v Denmark – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Saturday July 9th
Group C: Portugal v Switzerland – kick-off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Group C: Netherlands v Sweden – kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Sunday 10 July
Group D: Belgium v Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Italy – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Monday 11 July
Group A: Austria vs Northern Ireland – kick-off 5pm, St Mary’s
Group A: England v Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Tuesday 12th July
Group B: Denmark vs Finland – kick-off 5pm, Stadion MK
Group B: Germany v Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Wednesday July 13th
Group C: Sweden vs Switzerland – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Netherlands v Portugal – kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Thursday 14 July
Group D: Italy v Iceland – kick-off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France v Belgium – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Friday 15 July
Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick-off 8pm, St Mary’s
Group A: Austria vs Norway – kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Saturday July 16th
Group B: Finland vs. Germany – kick-off 8pm, Stadion MK
Group B: Denmark v Spain – kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Sunday 17 July
Group C: Switzerland v Netherlands – kick-off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden v Portugal – kick-off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Monday 18 July
Group D: Iceland vs France – kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Group D: Italy v Belgium – kick-off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20th
Quarter-Final 1: Group A winners – Group B runners-up – Kick-off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday 21st July
Quarter-Finals 2: Group B winners – Group A runners-up – Kick-off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Friday 22 July
Quarter-Finals 3: Group C winners – Group D runners-up – Kick-off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Quarter-Finals 4: Winners Group D – Runners-up Group C – Kick-off 8pm, New York Stadium
Tuesday, July 26th
Semi-Final 1: Quarter-Final 1 Winner vs. Quarter-Final 3 Winner – Kick-off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27th
Semi-final 2: Winner of quarter-final 2 – Winner of quarter-final 4 – kick-off 8 p.m., Stadium MK
Sunday 31 July
Winner Semi-Final 1 – Winner Semi-Final 2 – Kick-off 5pm, Wembley