Chelsea Ladies striker Fran Kirby believes that her enjoyment for scoring goals helps to build her confidence for club and country.
On Saturday, Kirby scored a header inside the opening two minutes as England’s Women earned a 1-0 victory over Brazil at Meadow Lane in Nottingham.
It was Kirby’s 11th goal for her country in 33 international appearances for the Lionesses, but her first since their 4-1 victory over France in the SheBelieves Cup in March.
Last season’s women’s PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers’ award winner has struggled with Chelsea this season, with the Blues’ only win in the Women’s Super League coming against Brighton and Hove Albion last week.
Kirby scored her first league goal of the campaign in that victory and after continuing her run of form with an international goal, the 25-year-old admitted how much satisfaction she gets from scoring goals and how it helps her confidence to grow.
“I want to be scoring goals, that is what I am judged on and that is what I judge myself on”, described Kirby.
“I really enjoy putting the ball in the back of the net and I enjoy being the person that is creating things for the team.
“I want to be assisting as well, I’ve got a few assists leading into this game and I want to try and get on the ball as much as possible, be confident when I get it, can I put the ball in the back of the net, and ultimately, that is what people are looking for. As long as I can keep doing that then my confidence is going to keep building.”
During the clash with Brazil, who are ranked as the eighth best women’s national side in the world, Kirby’s opposite number 10 was six-time World Player of the Year winner, Marta, who featured for the opening 22 minutes.
England’s manager Phil Neville after the match explained how he would rather have Chelsea’s prolific goalscorer, a compliment that delighted Kirby.
She added: “It’s really nice to hear your manager praise you so much. He has got [really]good confidence in me, which makes me feel confident when I go out on the pitch.
“It’s a great compliment for me and I want to keep pushing and I want to keep trying to be the best player I can be and there is a small margin to the difference.
“I have massive respect for Marta and I love watching her play and I love watching what she does on the ball and if I can try and emulate that in any way, I am going to be happy with it. I just want to keep improving myself as a player and as a person and hopefully continue to enjoy being on the pitch.”
Kirby and the Lionesses are next in action tomorrow evening when they take on Australia in another friendly at Craven Cottage.