Anna Patten looking to establish herself with Arsenal Ladies
- Credit: Archant
FOR Harpenden footballer Anna Patten, the upcoming WSL season is one in which she is determined to firmly establish herself among Arsenal Ladies’ elite.
The 17-year-old recently played her first full game for the Gunners in a pre-season game with WSL champions Manchester City, ahead of the inaugural Spring Series kicking off in April.
Arsenal kick off their campaign as one of the favourites to lift the trophy come the end of the season, with FA Cup title defence also top of their priority list for the months ahead.
And as she continues to stick her foot in the first team door, Patten is relishing every second of learning from the world’s best.
“At the moment, I’ve just got my first 90 minutes for the first team which was very exciting,” said Patten, who benefits from being part of the SSE Next Generation programme.
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“It was only in pre-season but hopefully that will lead onto a few minutes in the WSL Spring Series which is the aim.
“Just training and playing with all the other ladies, I’m learning so much and it’s really improved my game. I can’t wait to put that into my national matches as well and prove myself for England.
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“At the U17 World Cup in Jordan last October, I was playing in front of crowds I hadn’t played in front of before and there was also the pressure of playing Japan in the quarter-finals.
“Also, my first start from Arsenal Ladies was daunting. I was suddenly playing with players I was watching when I was younger growing up. There was a lot of pressure on myself as I wanted to do well.”
As part of the support she receives from the SSE Next Generation programme, Patten stepped away from the football pitch and onto the ice earlier this month for a curling taster session with an England international.
There, she was taught the basics of the sport before getting to grips with matters on the ice, and for the defender, it proved to be quite the experience.
“It’s very interesting to come to events like this, you get to learn something new and meet other athletes who get the support from SSE Next Generation as well,” she said.
“I was very inconsistent, one would go straight and hit the target, and then all the others were either too long or too short. I’ll definitely need a few more hours of practice.
“You need real concentration when you are curling. You need to keep focused and really know where you want the stone to go. I’m going to take that back into football to be focused for the whole 90 minutes.
“SSE Next Gen has been very important in helping me fund a lot of things for my football – journeys to and from training and to the long away games, and when I want to meet up with the national team.
“And football boots, you can never have enough boots.”
SSE’s Next Generation programme partners with SportsAid to provide financial support and training to the sports stars of the future. Keep up to date with the latest @SSENextGen