• England Women 2m

    Leaving football behind pays off for Katie George

    Former Portsmouth footballer rewarded for choosing cricket over football with England call up

    For Katie George, one of the new names in the England squad for this month’s trip to India, selection represents vindication of her decision to chase her dreams in cricket rather than football.

    And now she is relishing the chance to follow in the footsteps of one of her idols, Katherine Brunt.

    George, an 18-year-old from Hampshire, previously combined cricket with playing football for Portsmouth, and was talented enough at the latter to earn an invitation to an England Under-17 camp at Bisham Abbey.

    But now she is fully focused on cricket – and a first trip to India.

    “Football was definitely my first love,” she explains. “But I eventually realised I enjoyed cricket so much more and when I was playing it I could play freely, not worrying about what anyone was thinking.”

    Katie George dismisses Fran Wilson

    Southern Vipers seamer has been called into the England squad

    She earned selection for the Southern Vipers in last summer’s Kia Super League, when her performances made a big impression on England coach Mark Robinson – particularly her ability to respond to big-hitting batters.

    Robinson went a step further, stating in a radio interview that he wanted to persuade George away from football and into cricket.

    That was the backing George needed and, after just one season in the KSL, she hung up her football boots to pursue a life in cricket.

    “I would say that my personality has a lot of fight and resilience,” she added.

    "To be honest I wasn't expecting it. It came as a nice surprise - honestly it’s amazing, I’m really excited."

    Katie George

    “It’s not always going to go your way in T20. I think the important thing is to be able to go back to your mark, have a clear plan of what you’re going to do and try and get that wicket to break that partnership.

    “Growing up I played boys cricket, I still do play men’s cricket. I felt that I had to prove myself from an early age, I think that definitely helps when I have those sorts of situations.”

    Brunt has always been renowned for a similarly feisty approach – a comparison that George welcomes.

    “That means a lot. When I was growing up I would try to emulate her, she is someone I look up to and aspire to, definitely. I want to look at other people and learn from them but also I want to be my own person.”

    "It's going to be a great experience, I cannot wait to get started."

    Katie George

    Brunt is missing this trip as she recovers from an injury, giving George the opportunity to prove her credentials as a possible successor.

    “To be honest I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “It came as a nice surprise - honestly it’s amazing, I’m really excited.

    “Robbo told me quite informally (of her selection), just as we were sat having a chat on the sofa.

    “It’s a good opportunity for me to hopefully get a starting spot, and then we’ll see what happens.

    "It's going to be a great experience, I cannot wait to get started. I just want to knuckle down in training, and hopefully do the best I can to get a spot in the starting line-up."

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