‘Are you watching, Phil Neville?’ was the chant that echoed around Kingsmeadow on Sunday after Erin Cuthbert’s stellar performance in Chelsea’s 8-0 win over West Ham, but the forward insists her mind is fully focused on getting the job done with the Blues in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, writes Emily Salley.
Chelsea – the only team left unbeaten in the top-flight – extended their impressive run after thrashing Matt Beard’s Hammers to go second and above Arsenal in the table.
Bethany England and Maren Mjelde found themselves on the scoresheet twice, along with substitutes Ramona Bachmann and Emily Murphy, but it was the goals from Scotland’s Cuthbert and Wales’ Sophie Ingle that led the Blues faithful to plead Neville to select them for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Competition for places is fierce with Neville tasked with picking just 18 players from four nations to head to Japan, but no matter what the outcome come July, Cuthbert is just relieved to be back on top of her game.
“It was nice to score that goal, it’s relief more than anything to see it go into the back of net,” she said. “I was playing in Sam Kerr's place so I’ve got to fill her boots and keep them warm for her coming back.
“After my injury in the summer, it took me a while getting over it and in terms of getting over the World Cup, it took a bigger toll on me than I thought it would.
“It’s about getting myself up and getting my recovery and everything off the pitch right because I think that’s where I fell down a little.”
“I have a big year this year. I know what’s ahead of me. There’s the national team, Team GB and I am focusing on that, but at the end of the day, Chelsea is my priority.
“I’m in dialogue with Phil Neville in terms of how my performances are going and what I can do better because I want to improve.
“I’m willing to learn, I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I’ve got that mindset in me every day so hopefully I can take it up another level.”
Blues’ boss Emma Hayes was thrilled with her side’s performance but urged her players to continue to step up in the absence of Sam Kerr, currently on international duty with Australia, and England forward Fran Kirby if they want to win back the Women's Super League title.
“It was a relentless performance from the team from the very start,” Hayes said.
“They’re performing at a level every week that’s improving and taking us to higher places.
“The fact that the team are challenging each other to find higher levels every week shows that they buy into the concept of team.”
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