Jo Potter buoyed by recall

Jo Potter says her recall to the England Women’s squad has given her a new lease of life.

The Birmingham City midfielder, 29, won the last of her 12 caps in 2007 and admits she thought her Three Lions days were over.

But she was invited back into the set-up ahead of the 4-0 win over Sweden in August and is again involved in the squad for Wednesday’s final World Cup qualifier, against Montenegro.

Montenegro v England

FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015
Group 6 qualifier
3pm BST, Wednesday 17 September 2014
Petrovac, Montenegro

She said: “When I first got back on to the standby list I was shocked. I thought my time had come and gone. When Mark Sampson first came in he took a long squad to La Manga and I wasn’t in it so I thought that was it for me.

“I have been trying to play well for Birmingham for the past few years and I think I have been pretty consistent with my performances. That consistency must have helped me get picked again and it’s nice to get that recognition. It has definitely given me a boost.”

Potter continued: “England is something that has never been out of my head. You sometimes think it’s never going to happen again. You think that you’ve done all you can and you know it’s completely out of your hands.

“You look at some of the squads that have been selected, like when [former interim head coach] Brent Hills was in charge he was picking quite a young squad and you think ‘fair enough, he’s freshening things up’.

“I knew I had the support of the Birmingham City staff. They thought this was the level I should be playing at and it’s nice to have that backing. It gives you that little extra lift and the motivation to try and achieve it.”

Potter, an FA Skills coach, made her England debut against Holland in 2004 and she scored her only international goal in her team’s biggest-ever win – a 13-0 demolition of Hungary in 2005.

Alex Scott, Eniola Aluko, Karen Carney, Lianne Sanderson and Fara Williams, England’s most-capped player, are the only survivors in the squad from the last time Potter was involved, and the midfielder said it was nice to have those familiar faces around to help her reacclimatise.

She added: “It was nice and easy for me to come back in. I obviously know the Birmingham girls but I also know people like Alex, Fara and Lianne from the last time I was with England. Jill Scott and Steph Houghton were just breaking into the squad at that time, too. Knowing these players from before and getting encouragement from them helped me ease back in.

“Some of the girls said I looked like I’d never been away. They thought I looked at home and it’s nice to hear that. Having those people around makes you feel at ease.”

England qualified for next year’s World Cup with a game to spare following a 4-0 win in Wales last month – and Potter, who narrowly missed out on a place at the 2007 World Cup, admits that Canada 2015 is a huge incentive to stay in the squad.

She said: “It is a massive motivator and I have said that to Mark. It will give me that extra oomph in the league as well.

“After four or five years at the same club you can maybe hit a plateau, but the World Cup gives you an edge. With the top of FA WSL 1 being so tight, the players are going to want to show that they can win important games when it matters and that they can cope with that pressure.

“Mark has come in with a fresh pair of eyes. To come in and be a part of his sessions is really refreshing. The sessions are lively, they’re at high intensity and the players can’t guess what the team will be, which keeps everyone on their toes. It makes everybody that little bit more competitive.

“We know the World Cup squad has not been picked. Mark has opened things up.”