Duggan's Delight At Award
Everton Ladies striker thrilled with England accolade.
Toni Duggan has dedicated her England Women’s Under-23s player of the year award to all those who have offered support throughout her career to date.
The Everton Ladies striker won the top accolade in her age group at Sunday night’s prestigious FA awards ceremony at the recently-opened St George’s Park in Burton.
Duggan, who won the first of her two senior caps to date last September against Croatia, collected her trophy after receiving the majority of votes by Club England coaches.
“It’s always good to win a personal award and I’m very proud but I could not have done it without the help of my team mates, family and friends,” Duggan told evertonfc.com
“A lot of the credit goes to (former Everton Ladies manager) Mo Marley too because it shows how good she was to us, especially with Alex Greenwood winning an award as well. I’d like to say thank-you to her for the help.
“It was a tough category to be in because we had the likes of Jordan Nobbs and Gemma Bonner nominated as well. They had both had good seasons, so I’m happy to come away with it.
“Hope [Powell] gave me a chance with the senior team last year and I’m really grateful for that. I want to become a regular but it is going to take a lot of hard work. I’m just going to try the best I can and take it from there.”
Sunday’ event was also attended by the full England men’s senior squad, including Leighton Baines, Leon Osman and Phil Jagielka who could all feature in the friendly against Brazil on Wednesday evening.
“It was a brilliant to mix with everyone,” Duggan explained. “The men’s team don’t really have chance to acknowledge what the women’s teams have achieved but they got that chance last night.
“Roy Hodgson came over to offer his congratulations. Gary Neville and a few of the players spoke to us too. It was nice of them to do that and they were very respectful, which was nice to see.”
While the Three Lions tackle the South American samba stars at Wembley, Duggan is expected to be part of the Everton side that begin their pre-season schedule against Blackburn Rovers in midweek.
The 2013 Women’s Super League kicks off next month and the 21-year-old striker, who netted five times last season, is confident the Blues can improve on their third place finish this time around.
Duggan added: “It has been the longest wait ever and we just want the season to start. We have got a few pre-season games coming up which all the girls are fit and ready for.
“Andy Spence has taken over the managerial role and nothing has really changed. He has taken over from Mo [Marley], so hopefully we can come out fighting this year and prove a few people wrong.
“We are definitely hoping to build on last season. We weren’t happy with some of our performances and where we finished but hopefully we can kick-on now and compete with Arsenal and Birmingham.
“We’ve got some good additions to the squad. Obviously the twins have joined from Liverpool and they have brought some energy into the team.
“A few youngsters have also stepped up to the mark. They are giving as good as they get and are staking a claim for a place in the team which is good for competition.”