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Exclusive Interview with Gabby George: A True Defender’s Defender

She gives us the scoop before leaving for the SheBelieves Cup

Gabby George
Everton FC/Everton FC via Getty Images

Gabrielle George joined Everton in 2014 after spending her development years with Manchester United’s Center of Excellence. At the beginning of this season, she made history by becoming the first full-time Everton Ladies player when she signed a two year contract.

George has impressed so much that she has received a senior England call up for the prestigious SheBelieves Cup in America. Most of the England team is made up of players from Chelsea and Manchester City, the top two teams in the Women’s Super League. The tournament is considered to be a crucial test before the 2019 World Cup in France and includes four the of the top teams in the world.

Before she departed, Gabby graciously took time out of her busy schedule to talk to Royal Blue Mersey:

Congratulations on making the England squad for the SheBelieves Cup! Have you ever been to USA before?

Yes, I have with England U20s for a tournament in LA, which we won. That’s what I enjoyed most about that trip; winning the tournament against tough teams such as USA, Brazil, and Korea.

Do you plan on seeing anything in the States during your SheBelieves trip or is there simply not enough time?

To be honest, I haven’t really thought about the site seeing part of the trip. I’m fully focused on going to the SheBelieves tournament to win it and gain some great experience against some of the top nations.

Manager Andy Spence saw something special in you ever since you joined Everton at the age of 16. What did you do at such a young age to stick out?

I think I was physically already developed from a young age, obviously something I continue to work on, but I think I was physically ready at the age of 16/17 to compete against older players as I always played with my dad’s team who were fully grown men since I was about 12. So I was already used to taking strong challenges, etc. Also I think I had a good attitude to make him believe that I was ready to give 100 percent.

You are a true Blue, sticking with Everton even when they were relegated after your first season and then becoming the first Everton Ladies player to go full-time in 2017. How have you seen your skills and game change after going full-time?

I think I’ve gotten fitter, faster and sharper since going full-time. Obviously, we have more pitch contact time and also gym time, which helps. I also think I have become more consistent.

How have you seen the team evolve now that they are all full-time?

I think the team has evolved in terms of we have quite a few new players this season that have some great quality. Also the players that have stayed from previous seasons, I think they have seen the same changes in themselves as I have seen in myself; fitter, faster and sharper. And I just think as a team we are continuing to improve.

You have made it known that you love the FA Cup Women’s tournament and have fond memories of playing in the FA Cup 2014 final. Everton has a chance of making it to the Final Cup this year. What would it mean to you to walk out in Wembley Stadium?

I’d hope I wouldn’t let the occasion get to me, but I think as a footballer, whether that be men or women, Wembley and trophies are what you want to achieve. I love the FA Cup and to get to the final would be very exciting for all of us.

The Everton backline has consistently included yourself, captain Dan Turner, and Georgia Brougham. What can you say about your fellow defenders as individuals and as a unit?

I think we all continue to develop and learn game by game. Georgia is my defensive partner and best friend off the pitch. I think having a good relationship with your central defensive partner on and off the pitch is a key thing to have as a centre back and me and Georgia have that.

If you were a superhero, your superpower would be aggressive physical play and superb tackling. How do you mentally prepare for such a tough style of play?

I think defending excites me. I’m a very competitive player so I never ever want to lose so think it is just a mindset I have which I have drilled into myself. I don’t think many players get excited about defending but I definitely do! And it’s a key aspect to my game to be aggressive to win challenges so I think it’s a given for me to give this every week for me to perform to the best of my ability.

Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard is a big fan of yours. Do you two have a healthy competition going on? Do you share advice with each other?

Everyone knows Jesse is a joker! I wouldn’t say we have competition but he is always there giving me advice and supporting me when he can. It is good to have a cousin who is also a professional footballer as he understands everything and is on the same wavelength as me.

Who has been your toughest WSL opponent this season so far and why?

To be honest, each game is tough in different ways, obviously the teams up there challenging for the title are difficult but I thrive off of those games as I think we have shown we can more than compete with them. It’s just for us, we have to turn our good performances into good results which I think will come with time. We have a young team and are new to this league so if we carry on developing and improving I don’t see why we can’t do that.

What’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

I was once the North West 200m champion and top 10 in the UK.

What is your favorite pre-game song?

Giggs- “Talking the Hardest”

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Thanks again, Gabby! We are so excited for your future as a Blue and with England! We will be rooting you on! The SheBelieves tournament will be televised in England & USA:

SheBelieves TV coverage in England:

Thursday, 1st March: England vs France, 9pm, BBC Red Button

Sunday, 4th March: England vs Germany, 8pm, BBC Red Button

Thursday, 8th March: England vs USA, Midnight, BBC Two

SheBelieves TV Coverage in USA:

March 1st, 4pm ET: England vs France (in Columbus, Ohio) ESPN3

March 4th, 3pm ET: England vs Germany (in Harrison, New Jersey) ESPN3

March 7th, 7pm ET: England vs USA (in Orlando, Florida) ESPN

Tickets: here

US Women’s National Team schedule available here