Manchester City forward Georgia Stanway stressed the importance of role models after scoring in the Women’s FA Cup final, as she recalled queuing for photographs with England and City skipper Steph Houghton as a youngster.
Stanway, 20, scored City’s second goal and was named player of the match as they beat West Ham United 3-0 at Wembley on Saturday to complete a domestic cup double.
The Cumbria-born former Blackburn Rovers youth player shared pictures of her younger self with Houghton on social media, with the meeting believed to have taken place at the 2014 final at Stadium MK.
“That picture just proves how important role models are. I’ve always looked up to Steph,” Stanway told BBC Sport.
“I remember queuing for a good half an hour to get a picture with her, but she’s one of my best mates now, so she’ll give me stick for how my hair looked.”
Asked if – at that time – she ever dreamt she would one day score in the final herself, Stanway replied: “I don’t think I ever imagined it because some things you don’t actually think are possible.
“But today I’ve gone that one better and achieved dreams that go beyond people’s imaginations.
“It was unbelievable – and to lift the trophy is just extra special.”
England international Stanway, who was recently named the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Young Women’s Player of the Year, now hopes she can be a role model for youngsters too.
“Sometimes you get caught up in the bubble of training and matches and you forget what’s on the outside,” she said.
“Today makes it all worthwhile. If we inspire 10 girls then we’ve done our job, but hopefully a day like that we can inspire thousands.”
City’s victory over the Hammers meant they clinched a sixth major trophy and moved within one game of completing an entire domestic season unbeaten.
Nick Cushing’s side face Women’s Super League winners Arsenal, who pipped City to the title, away on Saturday.
Before then, Stanway will hope to be named in Phil Neville’s England squad for this summer’s Women’s World Cup, which is set to be revealed on Wednesday.
England start their bid to win the tournament in France on 9 June against Scotland in Group D.