Being with the squad brought home how close the World Cup is

Among other things, England and Chelsea Ladies defender Claire Rafferty gives her thoughts on Chelsea’s blistering start – which has seen five wins from five – the collective joy of scoring goals and the possibility of playing at the World Cup.

Hi and welcome to my first West London Sport column of the new season. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on what I hope will be a memorable year for me and Chelsea Ladies.

A hectic and 100% start to the season
It has been quite full on. I feel like I am gaining momentum and improving in each game. I still feel like I have more to give, but generally I am just happy to be out on the pitch.

We have had a fantastic start with five wins from five but I am not surprised as the hard work behinds the scenes from staff and players has warranted that. We just have to stay focused and not get carried away with anything.

The league season started with a great win at Notts County
The league season started with a great win at Notts County

Seeing off Arsenal in the FA Cup
Beating Arsenal was another step in the right direction for our season to date. The fact that it was in the FA Cup quarter-finals makes it that little bit sweeter. However, we have tough opposition in the semi-finals against Manchester City, and if we don’t progress through to the final beating Arsenal will mean nothing.

To be honest, I haven’t thought about playing at Wembley if we make the final. Beating Man City is at the front of our minds first and we aren’t really looking too far ahead. Playing at Wembley though in the FA Cup final would be a dream come true and another significant moment in history for women’s football.

England, the World Cup and Gemma Davison’s call-up
In the last camp you could feel the heat a bit. The pressure is on for selection and every session and game could determine if you go to the World Cup or not. Being away with the squad did drum home how close and real it is. This season I have been trying to focus on playing well for club and hoping that will go hand in hand with selection.

Gemma Davison has been in brilliant form so far
Gemma Davison has been in brilliant form so far

Gemma has been deadly with the ball at her feet in our first few games and as a consequence she has the goals to show for it. She has pace and skilful feet that not many defenders in our league can keep up with. England couldn’t ignore her good form.

Team spirit, scoring and celebrating great goals
We do get a bit carried away! I think everyone gets involved in celebrating because the games have been so close and tough that it feels like everybody has contributed and played their part. It does showcase how well we all get on as a team.

Our manager Emma Hayes always wants us to play out of trouble. At the weekend we struggled a bit because Liverpool did a good job trying to stop us, but our resilience and sticking to the gameplan lead to a great team goal. I think you could see in the way we celebrated and the big bundle how much more enjoyable it is to score a goal like that.

Chelsea Ladies versus Arsenal in the Womens’s Super League takes place on Thursday, 30 April, at Wheatsheaf Park, Staines Town FC. Kick-off is at 7.30pm and tickets are currently available priced at £5 for adults and £3 for juniors/seniors.

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